Posted by: greercn | September 15, 2010

Mother

Frankly, it’s weird. Even given that it’s Korean and is within a fine tradition of strangeness, it pushes the envelope a little more. Yet this gripping suspense film has fresh concepts and new ways of making the viewer uncomfortable, with little graphic violence. And that alone should be welcomed.

If you saw Joon-ho Bong’s “Memories Of Murder” and “The Host”, you will be familiar with the themes. Bungling cops, loss of memory and monsters (human and otherwise) are never far from the heart of his movies. 

I am reminded of Tom Lehrer’s brilliant song “Oedipus Rex”, about tricky relationships with mom. If you know your Oedipus, that’s the plot. Hye-ja Kim plays mom, who is more than a little obsessed with her only son. No babyfather sullies this relationship. Son is played by Bin Won, who is physically 27 but mentally around 6.

Mom is an illegal acupuncurist (who knew there were such things) and herbalist and more than a little deranged in how she tries to protect her son from himself and from his best friend, Jin Tae (played by the excellent Ku Jin).

The son becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a young Lolita,Woo-hee Chun. Incidentally, this young woman will be a massive star, as she has that luminous quality that will always shine on film, no matter what language she speaks.

I can say no more about the plot, except that it will grip you and compel you into its many twists and turns. Watch for the Ragman, played by Young-suck Lee, who plays a key role in the movie.

Other laudable roles are played by Mun-hee Na and Je-mun Yun. It is 128 minutes long and has that atmospheric flavour that may make you look at your watch a few times. But this will pass. This is an original and oddball film and will pull you in.

It’s different from anything else you will see this year and thoroughly entertaining. Even if you are used to seeing Korean films, this one lifts the bar.

Do you want to discuss this and other new movies? Come along to the Stratford Picture House on Sunday, September 19th at 5PM and talk about movies.

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