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DVD: Mother

motherFor anyone interested, here’s how my process of choosing what to post here on elroyonline works: I watch stuff, lots of stuff, lots of really random stuff. Some of it isn’t great, some of it is ok, some of it entertains me enough to want to share it with some folks. Those folks is you.

These days I avoid blockbusters, mostly because I really can’t be bothered adding to the din created by the release of those kinds of movies. Yeah, I loved IRON MAN 2, and A-TEAM looks to be full of explodie-goodness, but you’re smart people, you can figure all that out for yourself.

Nope, these days I’d rather find something a little left of centre, something that maybe you won’t stumble upon on your own. Those are the movie, television shows, dvd/blu-ray releases that I’m most interested in posting about now days… also, get off my lawn.

The South Korean thriller / drama, MOTHER, is just such a movie. It’s a quiet, even, dirge of a film that takes a few days to settle in your head. To be honest, I wasn’t going to bother posting about it, but gradually it has crept up the list: From somewhere around the “some of it is ok” mark, to me wanting to share it with the aforementioned folks (Yes, you!).

Hye-ja Kim plays the film’s title role, Mother (her character is otherwise unnamed). Alone, she has raised her mentally handicapped son, Do-joon (Bin Won). She dotes on her son. During the course of the film there are suggestions that the relationship between this elderly woman and her son is inappropriate, however this goes more to demonstrating Do-joon’s innocent use of language — and the grubby minds of some of the locals — than anything untoward happening in this woman’s home.

Do-joon is aware that he’s different, but he wants to be normal and tries to fit in. He has a best friend, Jin-tae. But Jin-tae comes across as self centred and detached, so his motives for befriending the child-like Do-joon seem questionable from the beginning.

After being questioned about the extent of his sexual experience by Jin-tae, Do-joon stays out late drinking and talking to local girls in an effort to prove… Well, I’m not even sure that Do-joon know’s what it is that he’s trying to do.

The next morning a high school girl is found dead and Do-joon seems like an easy suspect for the girl’s murder. Being utterly convinced of her son’s innocence, Mother sets out to do what the police seem disinterested in doing: Finding the real killer and setting her son free.

Directed by Bong Joon-ho (THE HOST), MOTHER is a far more mature film, in just about every way. It looks great and the sparse score underpins the lone effort undertaken by Do-joon’s mother. This also highlights the fact that people who use terms like ‘sparse’ and ‘underpins’ in their reviews, come off like total tossers… You know, like I just did.

There are a few stumbles in this film. I think the great deal of impact was lost at a critical point in the plot, mostly because of Joon-ho’s habit of lingering about too long, instead of cutting the movie tighter to create better momentum. Perhaps though, had it been a faster paced movie, it wouldn’t have left a lingering impression on me. [source]

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