Mother (2009) – Totally blew me away!

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No limits to the lengths a mother will go for her child…

Awesome and a total mindf*cking of a story. There’s amazing stuff coming out of Korea (Oldboy, Memories of Murder, Chaser, My Sassy Girl) and this is amongst the best of the best.

You think you’ve seen it all in murder mysterious? You think you know who did it because you’ve watched all there is to watch? Nothing left out there to surprise you? You don’t know squat and when this movie begins to take you for a ride, you’ll think you know what’s going on only to be confounded and have you ego deflated.

A good plot will have you guessing right until the very end. A great plot takes it one step further by taking you to the edge, tying a rope around you, pushing you off the edge, letting you fall for a while, and then pulls you back up slowly to reflect on what just happened. That’s how well this movie was executed and I can’t say enough of how much I was blown away by the story. That’s not to say there aren’t some borrowed elements but they are not so cliché as to make this movie unoriginal.

Mother

Hye-ja Kim is, however, magnificent as the titular (God, I hate that word but I’m using it anyway) mother. There is a scene in this film where she tells the family of the victim her son didn’t do it and her eyes are so electrically charged it made me jump back from the screen. Mother fires on all cylinders. The direction, cinematography, script, and acting are all grade A. It’s one of those films where each of the secondary characters steals the show for a brief period. (How ’bout that cop who kicks the apple from Won Bin’s mouth?) Bong does a remarkable job of populating the world of this film with real people and manages to give them depth and development in a very short period of time. I confess to having a little trouble tracking the other female characters in the film, but no matter. There is a scene where Hye-ja Kim asks the other ‘retarded’ kid if he has a mother and it’s one of the most complex and heart-rending scenes in cinematic history. Did you understand why she was crying?

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What I liked most is the near absence of music to create suspense and mood in this movie as you will find that it relies almost solely on the characters and events to set the tone of story. It has very simple camera work and doesn’t use fancy techniques or other distracting technical magic to make it work, it just does. I do agree with others in that it is a slow burner but the ending is the absolute best. To a very slight degree, it reminds me a little of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, another awesome movie in its own right.

Although it has a very slow, calm, and deliberate pace, you will be pleasantly surprised by this little movie. Reserve you expectations for the ending, your mouth will drop.

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~ by Ayan on January 8, 2011.

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