Dir: Bong Joon-ho|South Korea|2009|130 mins|15
"Is any director in the world currently coming up with more surprises than Bong Joon-Ho?…luscious and blackly comic." Tony Rayns, London Film Festival
At once nail-bitingly tense and brimming with humanity, Korean director Bong's (Memories of Murder and The Host) terrific film comes fresh from sweeping the Asian Film Awards' with a hat-trick of Best Film, Best Script and Best Actress.
This taut, unsentimental, Hitchcockian (and for once this really applies) dissection of a mother defending her son at all costs remains consistently unpredictable right up to its supremely satisfying climax. When Kim Hye-ja's nameless mother of the title discovers her 27 year old son, suffering from learning difficulties, has been arrested for the murder of a young girl, she obsessively sets out to track down the real killer and prove her son's innocence at all costs.
Worth the admission alone for its life-affirming book-end dance sequences, this is a tour-de-force from a filmmaker at the very top of his game. Released last month to huge critical acclaim in the US, and a strong contender for last year's Palm d'Or in Cannes, this gripping blend of thriller and melodrama takes Bong's already considerable skills as a filmmaker to a whole new level.
"Bong juggles styles with insouciant skill, infusing his classic noir plotline with hints of Douglas Sirk melodrama, rainswept US indie realism and a brooding, blackly comic and almost Lynchian sense of a world spiralling out of whack ... ‘Mother’ is Bong's first masterpiece" Tom Huddleston, Time Out, 5 stars
"Korean maestro Bong Joon-ho's (The Host) playfully off-kilter Hitchcockian thriller refuses to play by genre rules, stir-frying slow-burn menace and Freudian drama into unpredictable combinations." Simon Kinnear, Total Film
"Joon-ho Bong's Mother is the best Korean film I've seen since Old boy ... the twists and turns are so welltimed; it's like Hitchcock was sitting in the edit suite with a stopwatch." News of the World, 4 stars
“Why cultural film is no longer a secret, independent cinema is thriving against the odds, says the ICO's Catherine Des Forges, and closer to home than Hollywood”
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