Madeo; Crime-drama, South Korea, 2009; D: Joon-ho Bong, S: Hye-ja Kim, Bin Won, Goo Jin, Je-moon Yoon
The 28-year old Do-joon is slightly mentally retarded and lives with his over-caring mother, who earns their money by working in acupuncture. One day, Do-joon is arrested by the police and quickly sentenced for allegedly killing a girl. His mother, convinced he is innocent, tries to prove otherwise. She hires a lawyer, but he shows a lack of interest. She then searches the apartment of Do-joon's friend Jin-tae, but to no avail. Slowly, she starts investigating herself. She learns that the deceased girl slept with men for as little as rice-cake. Mother's trail leads her to a homeless man, the only witness - but he confirms that her son really did kill her. In anger, she kills the man and burns his home, thus destroying every evidence. The police arrest another man and her son is freed.
Joon-ho Bong's fourth feature length film (if anthology "Tokyo!" is excluded, where he directed a third story), crime-drama "Mother" again displayed his social commentary and sharp observations about not only his country but humans as a whole, yet he repeated and rehashed some stereotypes he already used in the similar "Memories of Murder". Bong delighted with his previous film, genius "The Host", that started off with a blast and continued with the same engaging power until the end, while, unfortunately, "Mother" starts off sluggishly and generally feels overstretched at times, offering only a genuine blast in the last third, the twist ending. Some stylish scenes are again recognizable for Bong - since it is raining, the mother takes an umbrella from a passing cart and offers the homeless man carrying it two money bills, but the honest man just takes one; finding a possible mitigating evidence for her son, blood stain on a golf club, she protects it from rain by putting a glove over it - yet except for the car crash and water spilling scene, they don't quite reach the calibre of his previous movie. Some false trails, like Jin-tae, feel rather contrived. However, "Mother" is a tight, original and suspenseful investigating drama with a great twist ending that immediately gives the story a new context, a one handling the theme of human denial where it is always sweeter to stick to a idealized lie than to confront yourself with the dark truth.