Self titled UK’s Greatest Movie Blog, the increasingly brilliant Ultra Culture, threw the third of their unique special screenings this week at the ICA. Once again it was a terrific night, truly worthy of the £9 admission price. Not only was I treated to a preview of Bong Joon-Ho’s Mother, but also complimentary drinks and snacks, a comedic magician and free DVDs. The affair was a rather laid back experience, fitting the slow burning trauma of the film and nicely setting up the extravagant and epic occasion that I imagine the next event to be.
The ironic humour and wit of Ultra Culture itself was scattered throughout the evening, from the audience participation of drawing a picture of our own mothers, to the notice on the entrance, with the continuos use of “shut the fuck up” and quite rightly too. All cinemas would be far better off with a set of rules like that and they definitely seemed to work. Kudos as well to Mr. Ultra Culture’s informative and of course, witty notes to accompany the film. As mentioned before, myself and my friend both managed to come away from the screening one DVD/Blu-Ray richer, and even though I acted like a complete dick to acquire it, I couldn’t be more pleased with my copy of Memories of a Murder.
Now, onto the film itself. Basically, it’s great. As a fan of Bong Joon-Ho’s The Host, I was excited to see the director hop yet another genre and try something different and boy does he succeed. Taking things a step further and mixing at least three genres into one film, Joon-Ho is successfully able to prove histalent as one to watch out for, especially as he continues to grow as a director. First and foremost, the film looks stunning. It contrasts impressive use of lighting, with some scenes shrouded in darkness, whilst others including the opening and closing moments are bathed in an orange and gold hue. The opening scene in particular is a masterpiece in itself, brilliantly subtle and melodic, setting the evocative tone for the film and clearly defining Kim Hye-Ja’s multi-layered performance as the unnamed Mother. Another shot, one as simple of water trickling towards a dangling finger is probably the best looking shot I’ve seen in a long while.
The film excels narratively speaking too, with the story of a murder mystery and a faithful mother’s desperate journey to claim her son’s innocence the perfect basis for unexpected twists in alliances and a ridiculous amount of tension and the guessing game. Pacing remains faithful throughout, barely slipping at any point, making the two hours seamlessly fly by, leaving me with a feeling of complete resolution and a strange sort of elation.
However, it is the tremendous achievement of Kim Hye-Ja’s touching and frantic performance that power the film. There is no doubt her acting talent is spectacular, evident in particular through her constant character development from worried mother to all around bad-ass. That’s not to say the rest of the cast isn’t still great, they are (especially Bin Won as her mentally handicapped son), just not quite up to Hye-Ja’s array of emotions and dazzling glances.
Boon Joon-Ho has created a film that not only connects with audiences of any country, but he has also taken us on a journey of laughter, tension and unconditional love and belief. Through spectacular cinematography and a haunting score, Mother is backed by one of the best performances of the year, and makes me even more excited to see what direction Boon Joon-Ho will take next. On top of all this praise, I must once again thank Ultra Culture for an awesome night of true movie geek godliness and wait in longing and anticipation for the next instalment.
Overall experience: 6/5
- devina-comer reblogged this from jjmasterfunk
- ys-complex reblogged this from kafka-on-the-shore
- kafka-on-the-shore reblogged this from jjmasterfunk and added:
- jjmasterfunk posted this