The FilmFans of Bong Joon-ho's terrific Memories of Murder will find a lot of similar ground covered in his latest directorial effort. Mother is blackly comic, achingly profound and equally as unresolved in a conventional dramatic sense as his earlier film. Laughs are found in topics like learning disability and incest, and any neat attempts to fall into genre are frustrated just as you think you are able to pigeonhole what you are seeing.
The central relationship and the basis concern of the film is that of Do-joon and his mother. He may be best described as a manchild, and his clear learning disability makes him a target for exploitation and the subject of amazingly intense attention from his single parent. Do-joon becomes suspected of the murder of a local school girl, is then seemingly stitched up by the half-arsed local police, and finds himself with only mommie dearest to fight his corner.
And she is very brave in sparing no emotional blushes for her character and laying bare the mixture of obligation and misery that sums up this film. Shot by Alex and framed and composed with great skill, the image of the film always complements the story and unifies the miserable lives in a grey, shadowy presentation. Most crucially, the many layers of social comment, black comedy and grinding reality are reconciled to provide a complex, intriguing film that leaves quite an impact.
Unbearably truthful and sanguine, Mother is one of the best films we've seen on these shores in the last year.
Technical SpecsOffered on a region B locked BD 50, Mother's transfer is given a filesize of 29.8GB with the option of lossy stereo or a master audio 5.1 mix. The sound is not designed in a particularly ornate way or with too much evidence of three dimensional effects. Atmosphere and ambience are rendered nicely, effects follow the channels and the music really comes alive in the lossless variant. The removable English subs are well translated, sensible and very easily read from the clear font offered.
Special FeaturesA number of the extras offered here come in 720P and the making of documentary is a solid talking heads with location footage kind of deal. The director, producer and main cast contribute and we get to learn about the concerns that backers had about the subject matter and the intention to make a commercial film with artistic integrity.
There's a short featurette centring on the lead performance and another one where cast and crew talk about their memories of and hopes for the project. A trailer also in 720P completes the included extras.
SummaryA really fine humane film is presented with a good transfer, lossless sound and few extras.
9 out of 10
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
5 out of 10