- 12 Aug 10
Beautifully photographed and shot through with foreboding symbolism
Among dedicated cineastes, Joon-ho Bong - the madly talented director behind Memories Of Murder and The Host – has long been hailed as one of the most exciting filmmakers in the known universe. For the uninitiated, we say: “Behold Mother”, an exhilarating, creepy and suspenseful tale of scary love, murder, social inequality and acupuncture.
We won’t spoil the film’s bloody overture but we’ve already established that the title character is more than a little protective of Do-Joon, her 27-year-old son, when the fellow is accused of a brutal murder. Slow of wit and, frankly, not the full shilling at all, Do-Joon lacks even the wherewithal to deny the charges, leaving mother to solve the case, clear his name and take her precious charge back into their shared bed.
Korean cinema has always fared well in this part of the world where its propensity for gallows humour is shared and appreciated. As with the director’s previous crossover hits, Mother moves seamlessly between absurdity, forensics and heartfelt drama. The grisly discovery of a murdered schoolgirl’s body is met with excitement among the investigating officers: “we haven’t had a murder case in ages!” cries one.
In this spirit, the astonishing central performance from Hye-ja Kim is simultaneously affecting, monstrous and hilarious. And just when we think we have mommy dearest all figured out, along comes a nasty twist in the tale.
It hardly needs to be said that the film is beautifully photographed and shot through with foreboding symbolism; we’d expect nothing less from Mr. Bong.