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Those not familiar with recent Korean history may be completely sideswiped by a major subplot involving the framing of South Korean students in Berlin as Northern spies by the KCIA.
The movie's biggest problem, however, is that Han Suk-kyu and Ko So-young have little chemistry together.
Cheon Ho-jin as the elite, dandy KCIA honcho is full of venom under the surface of a mellow, reasonable father figure.
Told mostly in flashback, with actress Son Yeh-jin taking the roles of both Ji-hye and her mother Ju-hee, the film opens with a gorgeous-looking sequence shot in the country which strongly recalls the Korean novel and 1979 movie Rain Shower ("Sonagi", parodied in the film My Sassy Girl).The film explores this theme through its focus on one tough operative caught between two "fatherlands," which merely see him as a pawn in the grand game of chess, expendable and readily replaceable. He withstands the torture and gains trust of the South Korean spooks.He hides his true loyalties, resists assimilation into the capitalist and pleasure-seeking South Korean culture.These are some reviews of the features released in 2003 that have generated the most discussion and interest among film critics and/or the general public. The recent (and ongoing) wave of 1980s nostalgia has produced cheeky and heartfelt comedies such as Conduct Zero and Bet on My Disco, as well as sincere dramas such as Champion, looking back into the troubled decade with a mixture of longing, fondness and melancholy.Although some of these movies are excellent, it is about time that quality films like Memories of Murder blow away the pearly haze surrounding the 1980s, and expose its dark underbelly.