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Bong Joon-ho (2009)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Maternal devotion is taken to startling extremes in this rewarding Hitchcockian thriller from Korean director Bong Joon-ho (The Host). Beautifully shot and grippingly plotted, the film sees doting mother Kim Hye-ja prepared to go to any lengths to clear her adult son's name after the feeble-minded young man (Won Bin) is accused of murder. What follows is an eccentric and twisting whodunnit skilfully fused with an intimate and emotionally complex character study, as Kim's instinct-driven detective work reveals unsettling truths about both parent and child, as well as the small-town community around them. Echoing Bong's previous output, a seam of absurd and precisely paced humour adds unpredictability to the ostensibly simple story, defying genre conventions while playfully satirising the film's stereotypes. But it's the slow-burning marriage of suspense and melodrama that proves most effective, amplified by Kim's subtle performance, which elicits viewer sympathy no matter how deranged her determined heroine becomes.


A devoted mother lives in a small town in South Korea with her 28-year-old, mentally handicapped son. When a girl is found brutally murdered, the investigating officers arrest the boy and it is left to his mother to prove him innocent of the heinous crime. Thriller, starring Kim Hye-ja, Bin Won, Ku Jin, Je-mun Yun, Mi-sun Jun and Young-Suck Lee. In Korean.

Cast & Crew

Mother Kim Hye-ja
Yoon Do-joon Won Bin
Jin-tae Jin Goo
Je-mun Yoon Je-moon
Mi-sun Jun Mi-sun
Ragman Lee Young-suck
Detective Song Sae-beauk
Moon Ah-jung Moon Hee-ra
Mina Chun Woo-hee
Chief Kim Byoung-soon
Director Bong Joon-ho
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Other Information

Language: Korean +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: ICO/Optimum ReleasingGuidance: Violence, swearing, sex scenes. Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 20 Aug 2010