Movie Reviews

Review: Memories of Murder (2003)

memories-of-murder-2003-movie-reviewAfter a string of 2017 releases, it’s quite refreshing to blog about a movie a little older! Let me tell you about a cool website I stumbled across the other day. It’s called Taste, and basically how it works is that you complete a profile by rating movies that it throws at you. Once your profile is complete, you’re left with a list of movie recommendations based on your tastes. Simple, huh? I wanted to give it a try, so I completed my profile, and the number 1 recommendation for me was Memories of Murder (2003). There was only 1 way to find out whether the site was any good really, wasn’t there?

Directed by Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer & Okja), Memories of Murder is based on a real life serial murder case in South Korea. In October 1986, a young woman is found raped and murdered in a field. Detective Park Doo-man (Kang-ho Song) is first on the scene and has never dealt with a case like this before. It’s clear that him and the rest of the department are well out of their depth, so another detective, Seo Tae-yoon (Sang-kyung Kim) from Seoul, volunteers to help.

If I remember rightly, this might be my 2nd ever foreign language movie. It’s shameful actually, because the only other one I’ve seen (Incendies) was absolutely incredible, so I’m definitely open to suggestions. In fact, I almost enjoy a subtitled movie more, because my mind simply isn’t allowed to wander, or I’ll miss a huge chunk of what’s actually going on.


Memories of Murder is a reasonably long movie, but it doesn’t ever really slow in pace. From the opening of the movie, we’re presented with the first victim, and the way the story flows it really does feel like we’re part of the investigative team as they desperately search for clues. Once the team work out that these murders only happen at night when it rains, the tension really ramps up. I felt just as frustrated as the detectives when things didn’t go their way, although Park Doo-man’s investigate techniques are extremely questionable!

In fact, his character started out as quite unlikable for me. He was presented with a decent lead, but rather than work with the suspect to gather as much intelligence as he could, Park Doo-man actually creates false evidence to make the suspect look even more guilty, and actually tortures him until he gets a confession. It’s quite hard to watch in some parts. By the end of the movie though, you can see how much his character has grown.


Memories of Murder is up there with Zodiac as my joint-favourite detective movie I think. As far as that website goes, it was spot on with recommending me something to watch! I’m not affiliated with them in any way by the way, just to make that clear. I just like sharing interesting things with you. This movie gets 4 out of 5 Nike (or should that be Nice?) sneakers from me.





By the way, in case you’re curious, it’s also recommending me Persepolis, Letters from Iwo Jima, Short Term 12, In Bruges and City of God, to name a few. I’ll be tracking these down soon!)

11 thoughts on “Review: Memories of Murder (2003)

  1. I give this post 5 out of 5 Nike sneakers. πŸ˜‰ So happy to see that you’ve reviewed Memories of Murder! I’ve been meaning to watch this for a long time. It’s great to read that you’ve ranked it close to Zodiac. If you’re looking for more brilliant Korean cinema, I highly recommend I Saw The Devil and Madeo.

    On a side note, Taste sounds like a fun site! Those recommendations are just fantastic. In Bruges and City of God are in my top all-time favourites. 😊


  2. Oh In Bruges! Watch that one!

    I actually recently saw Memories of Murder for the first time ever. Someone told me it was better than Se7en which I disagree with but it was still a very fine movie. As for recommendations of foreign films – The Handmaiden and Thirst are two foreign ones that are the highest on my top 100 so I’d say go with those πŸ™‚


    1. I might make In Bruges my Sunday night movie!
      I’m waiting for The Handmaiden to get a DVD release in the UK, it never made it into my local cinema but I’m DYING to see it after your review!


  3. In Bruges and Persepolis are great films!

    I watched the film earlier this year but I wish that I watched it in one sitting because I would have liked it a lot more. The cinematography is great, the character development even better. If I am not mistaken, Song Kang Ho is a revered actor in South Korea and his filmography is worth checking out.


    1. Weirdly I watched it in 2 parts too, I started it too late in the evening and had to watch the final 20 mins the next morning!
      I’m definitely going to be looking up his other work, thanks for the heads up πŸ™‚


  4. A good detective story, but I prefer other South Korean films. Maybe it’s the fact I sometimes find it hard to distinguish between Asian faces that lessened the enjoyment, who knows. I should give it another shot based on your review.


    1. See it’s hard for me to judge because this is literally the first South Korean movie I’ve ever seen! Which ones are your favourite? I’d love to give them a watch to have something to compare πŸ™‚


  5. In Bruges is utterly excellent, as was Letters From Iwo Jima, so this website it definitely not leading you astray.

    This is a lovely review and has not only put this flick on my radar, but I may try to track it down. I have a lot of stupid fun watching stupid movies, but honestly, I need to see some better stuff. Memories of Murder seems like a good place to start! (oh, and I’ve never seen Zodiac *runs*)


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