It’s time for a quality thriller that you won’t be able to predict. Korean writer/director, Joon-ho Bong (The Host) brings us Mother and tells a story the good old fashioned way. The movie stars the veteran Korean actress, Hye-ja Kim, as an obsessive mother who has to try and save her mentally handicapped son. When the police failed, she won’t. The story is a combination of the dysfunctional relationship between a mother and son and a murder mystery, but done in a manner that only a foreign director can do.

Check out the players, the plot, the good, and the bad below…

The Players:

  • Director/Writer: Joon-ho Bong
  • Actors: Hye-ja Kim, Bin Won, Ku Jin, Yoon Jae-Moon

The Plot:

After a teenage girl is found dead in an abandoned building, the 27 year old mentally handicapped, Yoon Do-joon (Bin Won), is a accused of the murder. The police close the case and refuse to investigate the crime any longer so his obsessive, over-bearing mother (Hye-ja Kim) steps in to find the real murderer to clear her son’s name of the crime. The film shows the great lengths a mother will go to protect her child.

The Good:

  • Mother: Hye-ja Kim does a great job as Yoon Do-joon’s mother so subtly and yet powerfully. She has these wild eyes that tell you everything she’s feeling without her doing anything. She also managed to play up the crazy moments without over-doing it. Great performance.
  • The Twists: In a world where we’ve seen it all, there are parts of the film that are a complete surprise. It’s so refreshing to walk into a movie and not know where it’s going next. The mother’s journey keeps you on the edge of your while director Joon-ho Bong continues to tell the story clearly so that you never feel lost with all the twists going on.
  • Mystery: It’s nice to know that a film maker trusts their audience to use their heads. The story is not spelled out for the audience and it is left up to each person to decide. It is refreshing to watch something that isn’t spoon fed and spelled out.
  • The Subtly: Overall, the film had a subtly about it. One expects a thriller to be a faster and more on edge, but it was the total opposite. There are seemingly insignificant tidbits of information that are introduced, but they are an important element to the story. The story flowed organically and with such ease.

The Bad:

  • Time: A large part of the film was setting up the characters and showing the relationships between everybody. There comes a point in the movie where you start to get sick of the set up and want some events to take place.
  • The Ending: The ending felt awkward. It was by no means a bad ending, but it was just off. Although I enjoyed the open ending, there was a part of it that felt more like a convenient mistake than a decision.


The trailer is slightly misleading, but not in a bad way. It alludes to this being a high-octane crime drama, and it’s not. The film is far more subtle and takes its time telling the story. Typically, this genre of film is just regurgitated material, but Joon-ho Bong manages to reinvent the genre and keep the movie interesting at all times. It was certainly interesting and enjoyable, yet there was a certain element lacking from the end of the movie.

Rating: 7/10

Mother comes out on March 12, 2010

Photo Gallery


Get the Flash Player to see this content.