Movie #94 2020: Mother (2009)

Is it even possible not to trawl through Bong Joon-Ho‘s back catalogue when he just makes so many good movies?

Mother – not to be confused with Darren Aronofsky‘s Mother! of 2017 – is obviously not his best film. If anything, any director in the world would be lucky to pull off anything better than his Parasite. But yet again, this is a brilliant movie that I’d personally put on the same level as Okja (review HERE) on the greatness scale.

Once again, and a staple of Bong’s movies, this film is extremely well acted. The lead character of ‘Mother’ (Kim Hye-ja) is especially outstanding, as she manages to show such an extensive spectrum of human emotion in the short two hour time span that she’s given.

Another staple of this magnificent director is his outrageously brilliant storytelling. As with many of the Korean movies that I’ve seen, this is once again an excellent example of that. This time, Bong’s storytelling is much less convoluted and much less complex, and it is the characters who bring the complexity. Nevertheless, this is a perfect example of the ‘show, don’t tell’ ethos that critic Mark Kermode favours so greatly.

Also, in true Bong fashion, is the way he so successfully builds tension within his motion pictures. There’s a particular sequence involving a simple trickle of an upended water bottle spreading across the cold, grey floor as one of the characters sleeps. This is a use of tension that I’ll be thinking about for a long time, and the standard I will now be looking for in other thrillers.

I cannot reiterate enough how difficult it is to find a Bong Joon-ho movie that I don’t like. I haven’t even watched Memories of Murder yet, which is generally considered to be his second biggest success after that little movie that won the Best Picture Oscar this year.

Brb while I go and swoon over that one too…

Mother is unfortunately not available to stream for free in the UK. I rented this movie for £3.49 on the Sky Store – well worth it.

TQR Category Ratings:

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