(or, Omma Goodness, WHAT a Movie.)
by Ender’s Girl
Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin, Jin Goo, Yoon Je-moon, Jeon Mi-seon, Song Sae-byeok
Directed by Bong Joon-ho; Screenplay by Bong Joon-ho and Park Eun-kyo / Barunson & CJ Entertainment, 2009
In a Nutshell:
When a mentally disabled man is implicated in the brutal killing of a high school girl, his widowed mother moves heaven and earth to find the proof that can exonerate her only son.
(SpoilLert: Nothing spelled out, if ya know what I mean…)
How far will you go to prove a loved one’s innocence? How much can you sacrifice in exchange for their freedom?
Dangling the irresistible, two-for-one lure of a family drama encased in a taut whodunit, the film Mother hijacks your interest like a hefty block of granite inexplicably hurled your way from inside a dark alley one moonless night, resembling a monstrous projectile spewed forth by a malice-filled cave. If such a thing happened to you, as it does to one of the characters in the film’s most pivotal scene, would you step closer to the crevice, or scuttle away in dread? You know that whoever threw the rock still waits in the shadows — but it isn’t clear if their purpose is to bait you, or frighten you away, or maim you irreparably — or even kill you. Even then, would you dare risk the unknown? Would you cross over and enter?
To bite the bait is to follow a trail that snakes past grimy backstreets and up narrow, crumbling stairways that open into a deserted rooftop overlooking Seamy Town, Korea. Daybreak is just hours away, and by then this same rooftop will be swarming with police and forensic personnel examining a dead teenage girl’s body, bent awkwardly over the balcony wall and with her skull bashed in. A telling piece of evidence points to the village idiot, a 28-year-old mentally retarded man named Do-joon (Won Bin) who lives with his herbalist/acupuncturist mother Hye-ja (Kim Hye-ja) in their ramshackle home downtown. After eyewitnesses finger Do-joon as having been in the vicinity shortly before the girl’s death, the material evidence — a golf ball on which Do-joon had written his name just the day before — appears to be the incontrovertible proof of his guilt.