In a small South Korean town, a serial killer of pretty young women has begun a bizarre pattern of killing. The tried and true methods of the local police are no match for the maniac’s ingenuity or for the dubious interrogation methods employed. Co-writer and director Joon-ho Bong, expertly weaves this tale around two parallel dramas running throughout: finding a methodical killer, taunting police with his pattern of calling cards and the frustration by which police must force resolve to avoid taking justice into their own hands. The brutal honesty to both treatments is refreshing in the sense that such admissions are not so openly discussed in the West.

A superb irony develops within the storyline as one police investigtor, Detective Park Doo-Man (Kang-ho Song) grows towards more reasoned and moderate judgment in his work and his colleague, Detective Cho Yong-koo Roe-ha Kim) moves from quiet restraint to being nearly induced to homicide upon a suspect himself. The creation of this conflict is beautifully contrived and realistically brought about by circumstance. Empathy nearly compels viewers similar degrees of outrage. No film to this reviewer’s mind, grants a police investigator’s viewpoint better.

Along with offering a better cultural perspective of Korean society, Memories of Murder demonstrates the universal harm done a society throughout its strata by such crimes as that of the serial killer. This movie is to be given credit for NOT in anyway glamorizing monsters capable of such acts, instead to focus on them in opposite fashion.

Excellent camera work, supporting cast, both professional and colorful, this is a film whose scene changes are intricate and well enhancing to the storyline.

Graphic language (though in subtitle,) violence, partial nudity, and intense drama.

Highly recommended.