mag·nif·i·cent/magˈnifəsənt/ (adj.)

1. Impressively beautiful, elaborate, or extravagant; striking.
2. Very good; excellent.

Synonyms: splendid - gorgeous - grand - superb - glorious

WARNING: Some spoilers may be bound but I try to keep them light.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mother (2009)

"The most important thing is that you remember what happened that night."

Mother [마더] (2009) is a Korean Neo-Noir film about intellectual disability and a mother's love. From acclaimed Korean writer/director Bong Joon-ho, this film tells the story of an unnamed mother who lives alone with her only son Do-joon, who has some form of learning disability. When Do-joon is convicted of a murder that he says he didn't do and the police have no interest going any deeper, Do-joon's mother sets out to find out who the real killer is.

The film has some humor that is mostly situational or from a lines of dialogue and I felt these were expertly placed. But there's not too much, so that it overpowers the dark tones that drive the rest of the story.

I honestly don't think I could find anything negative to say about this film. :)

This film's story is expertly crafted. Everything in the setup leads to something else later, even little things you didn't think you noticed. Every clue along the way expertly leads to the next and the story is just plays with the viewer leading you exactly where it wants. I thought the story was going to end where the film starts but then it keeps going for a couple more minutes and unlike most films that do this, this only pluses the story even further, toward such a bittersweet ending.

Likewise the direction in the film is absolutely perfect. I enjoyed the dark mood that surrounds the even darker story and the blue hue that parallels this mood in most every frame of the film, I liked how the weather seemed to change and escalate as the mother grew more and more desperate, and I loved how the film shows you before and after the supposed incident so there's always that thought in the back of your mind of "well, maybe he did do it."

The camera work is absolutely stunning, there's not a single camera move that is done without purpose or reason and the placement of the camera angles and set up of shots is both beautiful and also single-handedly sets up a lot of suspense in a lot of the scenes.

I also really loved the characters and think they were brilliantly brought to life by each of the actors. Won Bin plays Do-joon with such sincerity it's really hard not feel sorry for him and Jin Goo offers a very memorable role that's both comedic and charming as Do-joon's only friend Jin-tae. But major props for Kim Hye-ja who plays Do-joon's mother and the title role. A lot of what is required for this film to work relies on how the viewer feels follows the mother character, the viewer needs to feel sorry for her and hope that she can find justice for her only son, and I think that Kim Hye-ja is absolutely perfect in the role.

Mother (2009) is an excellent modern spin on the film noir genre, and an amazingly crafted story that is really quite perfect. 5/5 stars.

Happy watching!

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