Monday, September 20th, 2010
Kim Hye-Ja is Mother
While the South Korean film Mother begins and ends with a character dancing, all is certainly not merry in Bong Joon-Ho’s 2009 thriller. The film centers on the plight of an unnamed single parent (Kim Hye-Ja) who is raising a mentally-challenged, twentysomething son named Do-Joon (Won Bin). When a young girl in town turns up dead, a key piece of evidence points to Do-Joon as the killer. Hauled in for questioning by the local police, the mentally-handicapped young man signs a confession (offscreen, I should add). Presented with an open-and-shut case — a key piece of evidence tying Do-Joon to the crime, a credible witness, and now an illegally obtained confession (at least in US terms — not only is he mentally handicapped, but the cops physically threaten him) — these overworked, totally unethical “public servants” decide they’ve found their man and refuse to explore other angles. It may be completely understandable, but that doesn’t make it right.