A murder rocks a South Korean town and suspicion quickly falls on a reclusive, mentally challenged — and alibi-free — young man (Bin Won). When an inept public defender botches the boy’s case, his mother (Hye-ja Kim) sets out to prove her son’s innocence. Acclaimed director Joon-ho Bong (Memories of Murder) explores the lengths a mother will go to protect her child in this atmospheric crime thriller.
Rating: 8 out of 10
The story of a parent or family member trying to prove the innocence of another is nothing new. In fact, Hilary Swank has a film coming out with that exact same premise called “Conviction.”
But director Joon-ho Bong, who made the outstanding monster movie “The Host,” takes some interesting twists and turns in this smart, patiently developed film starring Hye-ja Kim, who is the Meryl Streep of South Korea, as the leader character simply named Mother. In her search to prove the innocence of her son in the murder of a young girl she overturns some dark stones and grasps at thin straws, even turning on friends and family.
She’s not a likable or saintly figure, and the story unfolds her own dark past and problems. It’s a fresh take on a familiar formula to American audiences with a strong cast and characters in a compelling script.