Follow TV Tropes


Context Film / MemoriesOfMurder

Go To

1[[quoteright:220:]]²²''Memories of Murder'' is a 2003 [[KoreanMovies South Korean]] drama co-written and directed by Creator/BongJoonHo, based on the then-unsolved [[ serial murders that took place in Hwaseong]] between 1986 and 1991. ²²The film follows police detectives Park Doo-Man (Kang-Ho Song) and Seo Tae-Yoon (Sang-kyung Kim) in their investigation to track down and apprehend the killer.²----²!!This film provides examples of:²²* TwoPlusTortureMakesFive: PlayedForLaughs when Park and Cho torture the man who was caught masturbating in the woods. ²--> '''Seo''': "Hey, are you the murderer?"²--> '''Suspect''': "Yes I am."²--> '''Seo''': "Shut up, no you're not."²--> '''Suspect''': "I'm pretty sure I am though..."²* AntiHero: Detective Park and detective Cho, both of whom are willing to rough up suspects if it means getting a confession out of them.²* {{Bishonen}}: The factory worker, who is a major suspect.²* BlackComedy: Comes out of the fact that it's about a serial killer who was never found. ²* BookEnds: The film starts and ends with a scene at the same corn field.²* BoundAndGagged: All of the victims.²* BreakTheHaughty: Detective Park starts off as an arrogant, irreverent and buffoonish figure. Over the course of the film, the murders and numerous incidents surrounding the investigation take an enormous emotional toll on him, leaving him more subdued and deeply haunted even a decade later.²* CharacterDevelopment: Around the time the third suspect emerges, Park and Seo begin to change in personalities. The originally violent and instinctive Park becomes more patient and calculating when interrogating the suspect while the normally calm and rational Seo becomes increasingly intense and vengeful. ²* CigaretteOfAnxiety: Park's superior lights up after he finds out that the killer is loose and the police don't have enough manpower to stop him, meaning that he will kill again that night. ²* CueTheRain: Justified in universe. The killer strikes when it rains and, so when they figure it out, the rain causes this dramatic reaction in everyone. ²* ADateWithRosiePalms: While Seo investigates one of the crime scenes there is a man caught masturbating. He becomes a suspect and they try to beat him into a confession. But Seo determines that he is not guilty and insists that they try to capture the real killer.²* DiesWideOpen: All of the victims.²* DistantFinale: A TimeSkip from 1987 to 2003 reveals that Park has a family and has left the police force to sell juicers, but is still haunted by the unsolved murders.²* DownerEnding: [[spoiler: Cho's leg is amputated after a fight. Seo completely loses it after the case wears down on him. Park is shown to be haunted by the murders even years after they happened. The police's reputation with the public is completely destroyed and the culprit is never found.]] Made worse by the fact that it's TruthInTelevision.²** In September 2019 however, the [[ identification]] of prime suspect [[ Lee Choon-jae]] turns it into a BittersweetEnding, although it still leans heavily towards the bitter. Assuming it followed the same arc of the investigation while keeping the fates of the characters, [[spoiler:the case still remained unsolved for over 30 years, all the police detectives involved ended up physically and/or emotionally broken, and the failures of the investigation enabled the murderer to rape and kill more women, including his sister-in-law.]] ²* EverybodySmokes: As the main characters are all cops, it should come as no surprise that smoking is frequent throughout the film. At one point while searching for leads, Seo nearly lights up at a middle school but finds his pack to be empty and throws it on the ground, highlighting how stressful the case is getting. ²* FireForgedFriends: Park and Seo eventually become this, despite being an OddCouple too. ²* FlippingTheBird: Det. Park shows his fist, with his thumb stuck between the index and middle fingers, to some heckling kids. This is an offensive gesture roughly equivalent to the American raised middle finger.²* ForegoneConclusion: The killer is never apprehended.²* FreudianTrio: The three detectives working on the case, with the Id, Ego, and Superego being Cho, Park, and Seo respectively.²* FromBadToWorse: Begins with a murder, and escalates into a terrifying serial killer case that leaves everyone forever changed. ²* FunnyBackgroundEvent: In one scene, while Park and Seo are having an argument in the foreground, Cho is making out with a hostess in the background, and the Chief is choking.²* GoodCopBadCop: The detectives try this with Kwang-ho, their first suspect. Park is nice and polite while Cho literally kicks Kwang-ho around. This is particularly disturbing as Kwang-ho is mentally challenged.²* GrayRainOfDepression: The rain pours down as they find the last victim, after Seo let a suspect slip surveillance. ²* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Detective Seo, who is originally calm and rational and disapproving of the JackBauerInterrogationTechnique employed by Park and Cho, becomes more and more unstrung over the course of the film, as the body count piles up. [[spoiler: He snaps when he loses a suspect whom he was keeping under surveillance, and a school girl he had previously spoken with gets killed. He's about to shoot the suspect when Park comes charging up, with the DNA report from America revealing that the suspect's sample doesn't match. Seo refuses to believe it--"this paper lies"--and tries to kill the suspect anyway. Park knocks his arm, saving the suspect's life.]]²* HiddenVillain: Combined with TheFaceless.²* HighAltitudeInterrogation: Done with the man they catch masturbating near a crime scene.²* IdiotHero: While hero is stretching it, Park is this. He follows leads based on gossip and rumors, fails to collect the most basic of evidence and judges suspects guilty by looking into their eyes which is implied to be a sham by the way he identifies the second suspect.²* ItsPersonal: [[spoiler: Upon seeing the schoolgirl he had befriended winding up as the latest victim of the killer, Seo abandons all reason and attempts to perform a vigilante execution on the man he believes to be the murderer.]]²* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Used liberally by the police, especially Cho. Though it doesn't help much.²* JustAFleshWound: Averted. Cho gets stabbed in the leg by a plank of wood with a nail attached to it. We see him limping around afterwards, and eventually his shin has to be amputated.²* KaraokeBox: The detectives unwind in one.²* KarmaHoudini: The killer, whoever he may have been.²* KickTheDog: Park and Cho repeatedly beating the mentally challenged Kwang-Ho certainly counts as this.²* LaserGuidedKarma: Detective Cho has a habit of drop-kicking his suspects. It is ironic that [[spoiler: he ends up having his leg amputated.]]²* MatchCut: A pretty twisted one. The police are circled around a coroner's table, looking at the body of a murder victim. The film cuts to meat on a grill at a Korean barbecue restaurant.²* NeverTheObviousSuspect: Discovered by Seo, probably. He and Park pick up various creepy characters, and then he learns that [[spoiler:the killer apparently looked no more sinister than he does]] at the end.²* NiceJobBreakingItHero: The police harass and brutalize Baek because [[PoliticallyIncorrectHero his handicap]] makes him appear creepy to him. [[spoiler: By the time they realize he's a ''witness'', they've pushed him to the point of stabbing Cho, upon which he gets hit by a train.]]²* OnlySaneMan: Detective Seo tries to mount a reasonable investigation into the case, but has to put up with two bumbling partners and a mismanaged, under-equipped police force. However, [[DespairEventHorizon the stresses of the case wear him down]], and he's nearly driven to shoot a suspect who may or may not be the killer.²** Shin, the detectives' supervisor, also counts as he's trying to keep the detectives focused on solving the case instead of bickering with each other.²* PerpSweating: See Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique above. It never works. The suspects only tell the police what they want to hear.²* PornStash: The cops find the masturbator's stash hidden away in his home.²* PoliceAreUseless: Park and Cho make no effort to actually find the killer effectively and spend most of their time beating coerced confessions out of anyone they have a bad vibe towards. Their superiors are mostly concerned with their reputation with the public. The government at one point sends a large police squadron to suppress a political riot rather than to find the killer. Seo seems to be the only one doing any actual police work. [[spoiler: Though in the end, even he fails to apprehend the killer or save any people.]]²* PoliceBrutality: It's implied by the political background of the film with South Korea as a military dictatorship that the police are more accustomed to beating and suppressing political dissidents than tracking down criminals. ²* RabidCop: A common theme of this film. Detective Park Doo-man and Detective Cho Yong-koo both brutally try to beat and torture confessions out of their suspects, one of whom was a mentally handicapped young man, and get very few results. They're contrasted with Detective Seo Tae-Yoon, who uses logic and reason in his investigation, [[spoiler: but by the end of the movie, is driven to becoming almost as bad as them.]]²* RaceAgainstTheClock: Present throughout the film as the detectives eventually figure out that the next time it rains, the murderer will strike. ²* RapeAsDrama: The murderer raped his victims before killing them.²* RealisticDictionIsUnrealistic: Park insists the "confessions" he wrings from suspects need to be dramatic and clear enough to be believable.²-->'''Park:''' It needs to be realistic, [[ComicallyMissingThePoint like in the movies.]]²* RiddleForTheAges: Who is the killer?²* RuleOfThree: There are three main suspects in the film. Kwang-Ho Baek, a mentally challenged boy who could not possibly be the murderer due to his physical deformities and imbalanced mind. Byung-Soon, a pervert who was caught jerking off at a crime scene who is a likely suspect but is cleared after examining a witness statement. And finally Heyon-Gyu who matches the physical description of the killer and only just moved to the area shortly before the killings began, making him very likely the culprit. [[spoiler: Though even he is cleared at the end by a DNA analysis.]]²* SanitySlippage: Seo becomes increasingly unhinged and obsessed with the case, [[spoiler: this culminates in him attempting to murder an innocent suspect.]]²* SceneryPorn: There are many landscape shots of the Korean countryside.²* SerialKiller: The main plot. ²* SmallNameBigEgo: Detective Park, who claims that he can instinctively tell who's a bad guy.²* TeethClenchedTeamwork: The superstitious and impulsive Park frequently butts heads with the logical and evidence based Seo and they argue and fight frequently through the story. Though they seem to reach something of an understanding upon discovering the third suspect. ²* TheyLookJustLikeEveryoneElse: [[spoiler: In the end, a young girl describes a man who is more than likely the killer, and says that he looked "ordinary" and had a "normal" face. This suggests even further that the handsome Hyeon-gyu Park really was innocent.]]²* TheUnsolvedMystery: To this day. Until September 2019.²* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Although compared to the Hollywood standards of anything "based on a true story", it's almost a documentary.²* VomitIndiscretionShot: Seo and Park's supervisor pukes into a bucket at a party.²* {{Workaholic}}: Seo. He is shown to stay overtime at the police station in order to look over some documents surrounding the case and unlike the other detectives, his mind is occupied about the case even during his downtime. ²----


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: