July 29, 2011

Mother (South Korea 2009)

Hollywood seems to have stopped producing intelligent entertainment but thankfully there are many other countries that still do. South Korea is an example where the output in this categroy has been most consistent in the last few years. Along with Park-Chan Wook, one of the most important directors is Bong Joon-ho who has won over audience and critics alike with his previous films "Memories of Murder" (2003) and "The Host" (2006). His latest film "Mother" follows that path in the sense that it is an arthouse films with a story that should appeal to "normal" moviegoers as well.

The film is a clever mystery thriller about a mother who is prepared to do anything to prove her son, who is charged for murder, innocent. One of the (many) surprising things about the film is that the resolution of the murder is secondary even though it is used to maintain the tension. The abnormal relationship between the mother and the son is given more importance and in particular the film focuses on the eponymous character, brilliantly played by Kim Hye-ja. As soon as the mother takes over after the murder has occured, she dominates every scene and we stay with her until the bitter end. We understand her even though she doesn't act morally. The story is told expertly and the director more than once leads us to false sidetracks, leaving some secrets unexplained. But even more important than the pleasures of the intriguing plot is that the film never loses its sight on the dark and very real truths it uncovers along the way.


Protective: Kim Hye-ja as the titular "Mother"

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