Memories Of Murder

South Korean writer-director Bong Joon-ho (The Host) made his feature debut with the grisly black comedy Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000), but this one (2003) is far more ambitious and nuanced. A police procedural, it’s based on the unsolved murders of ten women between 1986 and 1991 in the rustic Gyeonggi province, reputedly the first recorded serial killings in Korean history. Bong concentrates on the friction between a local yokel cop and a big-city gumshoe with more sophisticated techniques, but his larger context is the military dictatorship of the period and the public paranoia it inspired. At 129 minutes, this takes a while to get started but gains momentum. In Korean with subtitles. (JR)

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