Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Crime, Thriller
  • 2009

Mother

Mother

Synopsis

A classy thriller from South Korean director Joon-ho Bong, starring Kim Hye-Ja as a mother determined to clear her son's name

About

With Mother, writer-director Joon-ho Bong (The Host, Memories Of Murder) helps maintain the reputation of contemporary South Korean cinema for oddity and excellence with a blackly comic murder mystery that dances around social mores, genuine tragedy and blind loyalty, guided by a piercing eye for the absurd.

The matriarch of the title is devoted to her simple son, Do-joon (Bin Won), whose strangeness is never identified as a specific mental disorder, a shrewd move that stops us from classifying him and making him a victim or monster according to our own prejudices. When a teenage girl is murdered by a mystery assailant, the local community is up in arms, convinced of Do-Joon's guilt. Even he seems to think it might be true. But Mother knows best, and she'll be damned if she's not going to get to the bottom of things.

It's this relatively straightforward set-up that provides a framework for some delicately observed satire realised via lush, confident visuals. You'll hear the term Hitchcockian bandied about in reference to this film. The score, together with a certain detached amusement at mankind's follies, backs this up, but in other respects this film belongs to its director more than its influences. If Bongian isn’t a word yet, it will be.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Bin Won, Ku Jin
  • Director: Joon-Ho Bong
  • Writer: Joon-Ho Bong
  • Producer: Jae-Won Choi
  • Photographer: Kyung-Pyo Hong

In a nutshell

A deceptively simple and humorous tale with wonderfully nasty flashes of violence that feel entirely real. Kim Hye-Ja's performance as the title character is just one reason to fall for this expertly executed piece of filmmaking.

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The Five-Year Engagement

    Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are Tom and Violet, a happy couple whose plans to marry become increasingly hopeless. Co-starring Chris Pratt and a host of sit-com favourites, expect sincerely romantic moments amongst Segel's signature frat boy humour.

    On Film4: 4 Aug 9:00PM

  • Film4

    Maidan

    Documentary portrait of the winter 2013/14 Ukrainian demonstrations in Kiev against the pro-Moscow presidency of Viktor Yanukovych and for a greater integration with Europe.

  • Film4

    The Five-Year Engagement on Film4

    Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are Tom and Violet, a happy couple whose plans to marry become increasingly hopeless. Co-starring Chris Pratt and a host of sit-com favourites, expect sincerely romantic moments amongst Segel's signature frat boy humour.

  • Film4

    The Impossible on Film4

    A true story made with the intimate involvement of the Spanish family, the Alvarez Belons, to whom it happened, The Impossible tells the story of a married couple (Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor) and their three sons, who were holidaying in Thailand when the

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share