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David Poland

By David Poland

Rental/DVD Purchase Note

In the midst of all the fighting about it, I’m not sure I emphasized that anyone likes Zodiac or thinks it comes up a little short should be renting/buying Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder, which is now available via Palm Pictures.
The story is about Korea’s first serial killer and the long, frustrating, emotionally draining effort to catch him.
If you love Zodiac as an experiment in form, this film will not eclipse it. If you are interested in the story, this film kicks ass.

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15 Responses to “Rental/DVD Purchase Note”

  1. Tedward says:

    I also remember an HBO movie about the search for a serial killer which starred Stephen Rae. I think it was called Citizen X. It dealt with the search for the first serial killer in Russia.
    It’s been years since I’ve seen it, but I do remember that I was very impressed with it. The main character (Rae), if I’m not mistaken, let his obssession with finding killer get the best of him, but he did get him in the end.
    Great movie.

  2. Kambei says:

    I was particularly enamoured of how Bong Joon-Ho managed to have so much humour and horror side-by-side in this movie and still have it feel cohesive, even more successfully than in The Host. I enjoyed the interrogation scenes very much. Hehe. They are simultaneously funny, disturbing and, later, poignant. Has anyone seen his Barking Dogs Never Bite? I might have to make another trip to the local illegal DVD store…

  3. EDouglas says:

    And this thread is a good time to mention that Bong Joon-ho’s new movie, The Host, opens TODAY in select cities.
    I saw Memories from Murder for the first time last week (a couple days before interviewing Mr. Bong) and I liked parts of it but ultimately, it left me wanting. I liked Zodiac much more. Glad MoM is available on DVD though, as I’d definitely like to see it again.

  4. Ju-osh says:

    I just bought an officially released region 3 dvd of Barking Dogs Never Bite from
    The film is fantastic! If The Host is Bong’s Jaws, and Memories of Murder is his Zodiac, then BDNB is either his Ghost World or his Bottle Rocket. It’s a quirky, dark-comedy character peice about two late teens/young twenties living in a huge housing complex in Korea. While the plot/story is simple, the dialogue, situations and characters are wholly original and engaging. Like Bong’s other films, it’s got socio-political undertones aplenty, particularly his continued commentary on the underclass in a capitalistic democracy and his exploration of the inescapable guilt that we put upon ourselves through our own actions and/or mistakes.
    An added bonus for fans of The Host:
    The actress who plays the older sister/archer, Bae Doo-Na, also stars in Barking Dogs Never Bite. Her performance in BDNB, along with her role in the soon-to-be-released-on-USA-dvd film Linda Linda Linda will make you fall in love with this girl. If you liked Samantha Morton in Sweet & Lowdown, Morvern Callar and In America, you really ought to check Bae Doo-Na’s work out!

  5. Reid Rosefelt says:

    Hi Dave,
    I like “Zodiac,” but I think it’s wonderful that you mention “Memories of Murder,” one of my favorite Korean films. I never would have thought of the connection. In my opinion, Ju-Osh is a bit over-enthusiastic about “Barking Dogs Never Bite,” which is a good first film and worth seeing, but the other two are in a whole other league. It’s a massive jump from “Barking Dogs” to “Memories of Murder.”
    As for Bae Doo-Na, I think most people remember her for her amazing performance as the hero’s radical activist girlfriend who comes up with the idea for the kidnapping in “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.” She also stars in the first-rate chick-flick “Take Care of My Cat,” which Kino has out on video, and has a role in the Korean version of “Ring,” (with Shin Eun-kyung, the awesome star of the classic “My Wife is a Gangster.”)
    It’s not necessary to buy Korean (or Asian) DVDs to see good stuff before it comes out here. I saw “Memories of Murder” a long time before it came out in the U.S., as well as films by Kim Ki-duk and Park Chan-wook. There is a website called that is a netflix for asian movies. It’s true that you need to get an international DVD player to see some of them (like “Barking Dogs”) but you can get a decent one for less than a $100.
    Also, the Korean Cultural Service on Park Ave in NYC has a well-stocked DVD lending library. (I’ve never used it, but my friends have.)

  6. Ju-osh says:

    Thanks for mentioning ‘Sympathy for Mr. Vengence.’ I dropped the ball in not referencing that one. And you’re right in saying that it’s a stand-out role for Bae Doo-Na. But you really didn’t dig ‘Barking Dogs’? I agree that ‘Memories’ is a much stronger, more mature film (and one of my favorite police procedurals), but when it comes to lazy Sunday rewatchability — for me — ‘Barking Dogs’ more often fits the bill.

  7. Ju-osh says:

    Are you the same Reid Rosefelt that helped make Stranger Than Paradise a hit? If so, you’re in my personal pantheon of film gods.

  8. Maskatron says:

    If anyone has Comcast, check your on-demand section for this movie. I saw it in the free movie section the other night.

  9. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is sort of awesome. It almost makes me want to forgive Chan-Wook Park for Oldboy, but that one is actually sort of unforgivable, ya know?

  10. Ju-osh says:

    Why do you say that, Kamikaze? It seems to me that Oldboy actually delivers on all of the false promises that supporters of 300 have listed in their reviews of that film: a completely visceral experience, ingenious new uses for cgi, etc…
    And then on top of all that, it’s got great performances, stylish design, cool costumes, sharp wit, and genuine emotion. Sure the *SPOILER ALERT* ‘you were under my hypnosis’ explanation at the end *END OF SPOILERS* is corny and comic book, but the rest of it is SO DAMN GOOD, it’s easy (for me) to overlook that.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    No, we don’t know, KCamel – Park’s revenge trilogy are all of a piece, as far as I’m concerned. I’ll agree that Lady Vengeance is the best of the three but Oldboy is pretty damn good.

  12. Ju-osh, I haven’t seen 300 (it’s not out here yet) and I didn’t mention it so I don’t know why you brought that up.
    Oldboy just struck me as such an ugly, vile movie. Watching it wasn’t a good experience. There are plenty of movies with unpleasant themes that are still watchable, but watching Oldboy was so unpleasant and dirty and I just hated it. And then when the tongue bit came I just gave up any slight hope that i could redeem itself. So unecessary and ridiculous (I speak of the film in general there).
    A Nicolas Cage remake would be hilarious though.
    Haven’t seen Mr Vengeance. Not sure if it’s out on DVD here.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    I still have no idea why you would like Lady Vengeance if you didn’t like Oldboy. If anything, Lady is more morally objectionable in that it makes a revenge slaying into something pleasant and successful, while Oldboy has everyone involved suffering immensely. I like both of them, and I like Lady Vengeance better, but Oldboy is more Shakespearean.

  14. Ju-osh says:

    The only reason I mentioned 300 was to say that if Oldboy’s violence and incest turned you off and kept you from emotionally connecting with the film (I’ve heard many people say this and do not fault them for their opinions), perhaps you would agree that it was at least a *technically* brilliant peice of work. That is to say, if people (not necessarily you) can claim 300 to be a great film soley because of its use of cgi, than Oldboy, a film that not only does this but soooo much more, must be at least as notable.

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