- Gareth Crook
Another Bong Joon Ho film. Another one listed under crime thriller on iMDB, I don’t know who’s curating that site, but they really need to start adding comedy to his film listings. This one is laced with it, the touching kind that doesn’t always make you laugh out loud, but makes you smile. It’s the balm that makes the rest of the film more enjoyable. Do-joon is a bit slow. He’s lovely, one of the good guys, but not always aware of what’s happening around him. His mother worries, but does her upmost to keep him on he straight and narrow. Not an easy task, Do-joon seems to be a magnet for trouble. Some of it his own naive doing, some of it perhaps not, namely being arrested for murder. Now you could watch this and find it frustrating, especially Do-joon’s inability to help himself. There’s something though that elevates it beyond those niggles... Mother. She’s determined, unwavering, resourceful, desperate. They live a simple life with little money, but she makes it work. In short, she’s a force. Not only for the love of her son, but for knowing his innocence, “He couldn’t hurt a water bug”. She’s long suspected that Do-joon’s friend Jin-tae is a no good scoundrel and hatches a belief that he may be involved. She’s both right and wrong and as the story unfolds, we find it’s not the first time. Back to Jin-tae, yes he’s a bit of a thug, but mother soon learns he can be her thug, helping her to figure out exactly what happened on the night of the murder. What transpires is a tangled story that twists and turns beautifully. With the rich cast of characters gracefully manoeuvring through it, it’s a pleasure to watch. Especially Hye-ja Kim as Mother. It has a real kick in its tail, absolutely devastating, but it really is quite brilliant and as we reach it’s thrilling climax I was utterly gripped. There really is nothing quite like a Mother’s love.