Mother

"Excellent"

Mother Review


Striking direction from the gifted Bong Joon-ho (The Host) makes this dramatic thriller both darkly unnerving and powerfully moving. It's a superbly well-assembled film with surprises in store every step of the way.

Do-joon (Won) is a mentally simple young man who lives with his mother (Kim Hye-ja). He's also utterly oblivious to the bigotry he receives everywhere he goes, and his best pal Jin-tae (Jin) doesn't really help matters as he stirs up the people around them. Then a young girl is found murdered, and a detective (Yoon) arrests Do-joon because he's the handiest scapegoat. This sends Mother into action to find the real killer and to mete out her own revenge.

From a simple but brilliant opening shot, Bong holds us firmly in his grip, finding jagged floods of joy and pain lurking in the corners of every scene.

The story is packed with blackly hilarious observations, cruel comedy and deep emotion as this tiny, unassuming woman quietly battles to protect her son from anything that might cause him harm. In other words, despite the film's sharp edges and grisly story, this is an affectionate ode to motherhood.

Kim Hye-ja's marvellous face conveys her thoughts and feelings without the need for much dialog, and Bong captures every tiny glance as she's persistently distracted by whatever might be happening to her son. Won is also effective in a difficult role, balancing Do-joon's wonder and naivete with a murky sense of menace. His interaction with Jin, as the friend who's smarter but not as good-looking, is terrific. And side characters have personality tics that are just as lively.

And then there's the quiet commentary on Korea's justice system, as the cops callously disregard evidence to close the case quickly. Clearly, Do-joon isn't capable of murder, although we quickly realise that Mother is. The ensuing tension is edgy and unexpected, keeping us off balance trough each twisted turn of the plot. And along with all of this, Bong offers us telling insights that show us the truth but convince us of something else. Intriguingly, the film's closest relative is probably David Lynch's Blue Velvet and yes, Bong's filmmaking is just as bravura.



Mother

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 128 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 28th May 2009

Box Office USA: $0.3M

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 105 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Bong Joon-ho

Producer: Park Tae-joon, Seo Woo-sik

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.