Incredible that this was Bong’s second feature film! The man can see things in a way nobody else can. I wavered between four stars and five stars, but if you don’t give five stars for a film like this, what are you saving them for?

A lot of comparisons float around between this and Zodiac, but they’re not that similar. Zodiac is detached; Memories of Murder is involved. Zodiac wants you to see it as a case file to be solved; Memories of Murder wants you to see it as a case file with a bigger police and societal problem behind it. 

The similarity between these films — that both documented unsolved serial killer cases (although Memories is a closed case now) — is entirely surface level. They share similar colour grading, but until the Criterion edition of Memories, Bong Joon-Ho’s film was reportedly much more colourful (its colour timing was redone for the Criterion Blu-ray).

If you want to compare this to any Fincher movie, it’d be better to compare it to Seven. Memories of Murder is similar thematically, and its beats line up fairly nicely: two cops who disagree on the best way to solve the case and find their killer slowly see their perspectives change over the course of the case. One comes to learn that the world is worse than he believed, and utterly un-solvable, knowing he cannot recognize evil because it looks so normal.” The other detective comes to believe he cannot defeat evil with good; he must embrace the evil within him to put an end to it, because it is otherwise an unstoppable force in society.

Either way, these films are all procedurals. This is a masterful procedural. Joon-ho has proven that he is more than capable of haunting us with stories of beautifully broken people, and if you want to compare him to Fincher, I think both Fincher and Bong Joon-ho would be pleased with that.

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