Memories of Murder (2003)

  • "Do you see this kind of the thing in Seoul often?"
  • Based on a true story of South Korea's first serial killer
  • Cinematography is amazing, the wide shots of open fields and scenery look beautiful
  • Bong Joon-Ho is a master of style and storytelling, without question his best movie to date
  • Song Kang-ho is fantastic as the lead (one of my favorite actors)
  • The dark comedy is a welcome touch to a darker movie
  • Awfully sad to see how they treat the mentally challenged individual (added emotion)
  • Keeping the villain hidden throughout the movie creates tension
  • One of the best endings in movie history (another personal favorite)! It really leaves a strong, lasting message
  • Some fantastic social and more importantly, political commentary in South Korea during this time period
  • Having the murders occur throughout the movie builds tension to the breaking point
  • Social commentary is very real and heartbreaking
  • Some very intense, heart-pounding scenes, they are fantastically put together, the suspense starts small and then grows to the boiling point
  • I love the fact they the writers didn't try to go over the top and turn the movie into some Hollywood type thriller with 15 minute long car chase scenes or unrealistic shoot outs
  • "Did you see his face? What did he look like?" ".....Ordinary"
  • This may just be the best serial killer drama of all time!

Score: 10/10

Memories of Murder is flat out one of the greatest serial killer movies of all time! Bong's sense of style and storytelling abilities are unmatched in this mystery-thriller! It's powerful to see the police struggling during military control of their country in the midst of a dire situation, typically it's eye-rolling to see police being incompetent, but here there is a solid reason for it. South Korea at the time was under military control and the country was hanging on for dear life, and that's where Memories of Murder picks up. A small town is now the stomping grounds of the first serial killer in South Korea history and they are tasked with bringing him or her down. 

But the most effective aspect of the movie has to be the fact they the killings continue to grow as the movie goes on, while the identity of the killer remains hidden, things start badly and only get worse. We are primarily shown the cops point of view as they struggle to keep up with the murderer, but we are also given glimpses of the killer (whose face is hidden) as he stalks his victims. It's these shots of the murderer that the movie flourishes and the tension sets in, which continues to grow over time. The tension is high and the town is falling apart, the police act as quickly as possible, but with very limited resources that force them to always be one step behind the killer. And it's not so much the killer has super powers and is invisible, but it's the harrowing reality that the police are under prepared, fighting against something they have never dealt with before.

Memories of Murder stays basic and realistic (thankfully), there are no elaborate SWAT teams raiding buildings, over the top shoot outs, crazy car chases, or bullet-dodging suspects, instead the movie stays grounded and unfolds simple clues that the detectives must work with in order to stop the killer. Memories of Murder is one of my favorite movies of all time, easily in my top 5!

Memories of Murder (2003) on IMDb


  1. Then there is 'Nameless Gangster & 'New World',Mother,Host,Joint Security Area,A Tale Of Two Sisters (Horror),Montage(2013)..pheww :)

    1. I've seen New World, Mother, A Tale of Two Sisters, and The Host! I really wanna see JSA, it was on Netflix a long time ago and I didn't watch it in time! Never heard of Nameless Gangster or Montage, ill definitely check those out! My number one Korean movie that I haven't seen and want to is 'A Dirty Carnival' suppose to be very good! Thanks Again for those Recommendations!

  2. So have seen any movies made by Takeshi Kitano?

    1. I haven't! No directing movies and only one acting movie with him in it.....'Battle Royale' which is awesome! I have a review for it on here. Love that Movie!

    2. Yeah Battle Royale was kick ass nothing compared to Hunger Games..It made Hunger Games look a poor man's movie :)

      Kitano you should check out Outrage and sequel Beyond Outrage sees him at his violent best.Imdb has rated them low..but it is worth checking out.

    3. Oh yeah, 'The Hunger Games' is legit childs play compared to 'Battle Royale'! I've seen 'Outrage' on Netflix for some time now, never got around to watching though, I guess I'll have to check it out! He's pretty popular over seas from what I've heard.

    4. Oh Yeah..he is.. in his movie there is this violence which is on the face and sudden..His version of The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi had many such movements..if you look at his directed will have mix of violence ,humour,yazuka elements etc


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