A Film About Serial Murder
Director Bong Joon-Ho began Memories of Murder with a single image - a brutally murdered woman found naked in a ditch next to a field on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. It is a sad and compelling image to begin a movie with. Memories of Murder is based on the true facts of what is described as Korea's first case of serial murder. Viewers will likely see clear similarities to the American movie Zodiac
In October of 1986, a young woman is found raped and murdered in a ditch near a field. Soon after, another woman is found raped and murdered in a field. Local detective Park Doo-man (Song Kang-ho), not having dealt with such a serious case before, is overwhelmed; key evidence is improperly collected, the police's investigative methods are suspect, and their forensic technology is near non-existent. Detective Seo Tae-yoon (Kim Sang-kyung) is sent from Seoul to assist them; their methods clash and he is unable to convince them they are dealing with a serial killer until his predictions of another murder come true. He realizes that the killer waits until a rainy night, and only kills women wearing red. A female police officer realizes that a local radio station is always requested to play a particular song during the nights the murders are committed.
While Seo investigates and tries to piece together the clues, Park and his men beat confessions out of a local man found masturbating at the scene of one crime, and a mentally retarded boy whom they threaten to kill, even going so far as to make him dig his own grave. Seo clears both of those suspects and follows a trail of clues to a factory worker who had only moved to the area a short time before the first murder. The detectives are unable to pin anything on him; when they realize that the retarded boy witnessed one of the crimes and try to speak to him, they frighten him so badly that he runs in front of an oncoming train and is killed.
Finally, when yet another murder is committed and DNA sent for processing in the US comes back inconclusive, Seo's frustrations flow over and he snaps. He flies into a rage and roughs up the factory worker; only Park stops Seo from shooting the suspect. In the end, the crimes remain unsolved.