Thursday Movie Picks: Non-English Language Movies

Shame on me, it’s been forever since I took part in Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks. I got into the swing of it, came across a week where I had nothing to contribute, and then fell off the wagon, hard. Typically now I’m back off holiday this week’s theme is a real struggle for me, but I do (just about) have 3 movies to bring to the table this week.

The theme, of course, is Non-English Language Movies. I’ve largely avoided these movies for the majority of my life because…well. I’m from England where we rarely learn any other language at a high level, and the thought of reading a movie was offputting. I’ve widened my horizons in recent years though, and I’ll happily watch any movie that other bloggers are raving about, no matter the language!

Here are my 3 favourites that I’ve seen so far…

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Incendies (2010)

If you’ve seen any of Denis Villenueve’s other movies (Prisoners, Sicario, Enemy, to name a few) then you know you’re in for a wild, often brutal ride. There are no happy endings here. Incendies is the story of a set of twins traveling to the Middle East to discover their family history, and it was one of those endings that has haunted me ever since. 100% a must watch!

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Memories of Murder (2003)

Speaking of no happy endings…Joon-ho Bong’s Memories of Murder was an exhausting (but worth it!) watch. It deals with three detectives desperately trying to solve the case of multiple murders. If you’ve watched Wind River (2017) and found it a good watch, then this should definitely be next on your list.

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Roma (2018)

A weird choice, considering I wasn’t exactly singing it’s praises when I reviewed it last year, but despite Roma not being the most exciting movie I’ve ever seen, it’s stuck with me ever since. On the surface, it’s a quiet story of a housemaid and the life she leads, but there are some really powerful moments in there.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!)