Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Mother (Madeo)

Starring: Hye-ja Kim, Bin Won, Ku Jin
Directed by: Joon-ho Bong
Language: Korean
Rating: R
Running Time: 128 minutes

I kept seeing this DVD circulating in and out of the library and the cover intrigued me. It seems like it was directed by the same person who did The Host, since that's on the cover. I haven't seen it, but I might look into it one day.

Yoon Do-joon is intellectually disabled and because of this, and possibly guilt, his mother is very overprotective of him. She does everything to keep him happy and healthy, but Do-joon wants to be treated like an adult and often pushes her away for his friend, Jin-tae. Do-joon and Jin-tae usually get into some sort of trouble and Jin-tae tends to pick on him. One night, Do-joon follows a cute high school girl and starts hitting on her. She rejects him and he retreats, going back to sleep with his mother at home. The following day, Do-joon is suspected to murdering the high school girl, the police trick him into signing a confession, and his mother is determined to do anything to prove his innocence.

Judging by the cover, I thought this was going to be some sort of horror movie and the description could've easily led to that. Mother is actually a crime/mystery movie. While watching it, it reminded me of Akunin. They're both crime/mystery movies, are centered around a woman's death with similar backgrounds, and the main character and suspect has a social handicap for one reason or another. There's also the determined parent searching for answers.

I wasn't disappointed that my judgement of this movie was incorrect, I was quite intrigued by it. I probably liked it just as much as Akunin, even though I enjoyed the book more. The characters were interesting and I felt like I've never seen a story like this coming from South Korea. On a side note, both this movie and Akunin, to me, bring a social and moral question that we've sadly been dealing with in the real world which is "rape culture". Although neither movie has anything to with the subject, it does lead to some similar results in my opinion. I don't want to spoil anything, but the conflict does raise questions for both the characters and viewers.

Mother wasn't anything I would probably remember years from now with great detail, but it was a fairly good movie. Do-joon and his mother shared an interesting connection. The bond with Jin-tae brought a sense of loyalty and sympathy to some extent. There are a couple details that are open ended and the conclusion can vary from viewer to viewer. There are multiple possibilities. Even though it doesn't stand out much and I can't separate it from Akunin, I did enjoy it.

Rating: 3/5

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