Sunday, 16 July 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2003: Park Hae-il in Memories of Murder

Park Hae-il did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Park Hyeon-gyu in Memories of Murder.

Memories of Murder is a brilliant film that follows the search for a serial killer in the South Korean countryside.

Park Hae-il appears rather late into the film as a man who the detectives, Park Doo-man (Song Kang-ho) and Seo Tae-yoon (Kim Sang-kyung), believe may be the killer. His connection to the crimes come in a single song he requested that plays on the radio every time the murders occur though it is also every time it rains at night. Park Hae-il's performance as the subject is a very interesting one, and essential to serving his purpose in the film, which is to be a giant question mark. I have to say what he does here is rather remarkable in that his performance actually forces the viewer into the same viewpoint as Detectives Seo and Park find themselves in. In that the first time I watched the film I was convinced that he was guilty. This was through his portrayal of the quiet dispassion that seemed that of psychopath, there was a sinister distance as he answered the questions as guilty man simply thriving on the knowledge that they have no hard evidence against him. However watching the film again his performance plays a different way which is fascinating. That dispassion can be interpreted less as something sinister. It not only can reflect an earned distaste for the police, earned due to the random brutality of one of their members, but also suggests perhaps just an anti-social man living a difficult isolated life.

Park's performance remains though an enigma, yet his work never feels vague in this. Again in the initial viewing his few later scenes, after his initial interrogation, he is off-putting as seeming to be the killer gloating against his foes for their inability to catch him. On re-watch though this can be as easily viewed as a man already living an unpleasant life becoming understandably ill at ease with such severe accusations being made against him. Again it is yet another brilliant element of this film this idea that it make you get caught up in the evidence, the evidence against the man that you believe to be airtight yet becomes much more flimsy once the emotion surrounding it dies down. Of course again in that initial viewing right when you are with the detectives, in all of their frustrations and pain over the case, there is a desire for some sort of closure somewhere, and the only candidates seems in Park's off putting man. It is then easy enough to get caught up in the final confrontation where detective Seo is about to kill the man in cold blood after another murder has taken place. Again Park's turn only seems to encourage this as the unrepentant killer, who admits his guilt only with palatable disdain in the heat of the moment. Again though on re-evaluation Park evokes a real fear in the scene suggesting that perhaps the man is just fearful for his life, though perhaps through his military life he reacts to fear through some external anger rather than falling apart as most would. This is terrific performance as in a few scenes he creates this captivating figure that is mystery one can't quite decipher. He allows either interpretation of his character to be valid, yet is genuine in his performance. It is truly remarkable since his performance makes his character frustrating in the right way. You can't quite get a bead on him as Park leads with a fork in the road as this unpleasant behavior could be of a serial killer, or man who has no affection for the world yet is harmless. 


Anonymous said...

Luke Higham

I'm glad Robbins only went down to a 3.5.

Charles Heiston said...

Very happy Park got a high rating. I love him more than Lynch in Zodiac and that's saying a lot.

The ending of this film is very haunting too. I have it tied for my favorite this year.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I thought Park was very good, the last time I saw it but will probably re-watch it again soon.

I'm still hoping Astin keeps his win, but the upgrade matters a lot more to me.

Michael McCarthy said...

I guess I'm in the minority here as I thought Park was merely serviceable here.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on:
The Shelob Scenes
I can carry you
The Crack Of Doom/Don't Let Go
The Grey Havens
and the ending duet from Master And Commander.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the bathtub scene and the scene where Superman confronts Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman.

Calvin Law said...

Good but I wouldn't go as high as Louis even though I adore the film.

Louis: thoughts/ratings for Kim Sang-kyung and the rest of the supporting cast?

Calvin Law said...

And your thoughts on the 'Sad Letter' radio scene in the police station.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Forget the I Can Carry You scene. I found it on Vincent Price's review.

mcofra7 said...

RIP George A Romero

Luke Higham said...

RIP George A Romero

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And the Master & Commander ending. I found it on the same review.

Charles Heiston said...

It's gonna be close between Yoo & Astin for the overall. Bettany might be 3rd.

Anonymous said...

R.I.P. George A. Romero

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I'm kind of glad Louis preferred Choi slightly over Yoo. Means the overall winner's still up for grabs.

I really don't know what order the top 3's gonna be.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: If i'm comparing reviews:


But i'm not sure.

Luke Higham said...

Louis has made some edits to the Astin/Bettany reviews.

Robert MacFarlane said...

GODDAMMIT, RIP Martin Landau

Luke Higham said...

RIP Martin Landau

Charles Heiston said...

Aw man. RIP Martin Landau.

Charles Heiston said...

"Home? I have no home" Great actor.

Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Martin Landau. Amazing as Bela Lugosi.

Calvin Law said...

RIP George A. Romero and Martin Landau.

94dfk1 said...

RIP Martin Landau

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could you save your thoughts on the GOT Premiere until tomorrow morning/afternoon, because I'd like to get around to it before you do so.

Michael McCarthy said...

I think it's safe to say that Ed Sheeran is going to be this season's MVP.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Rest in Peace, Martin Landau

Matt Mustin said...

I saw Spider-Man: Homecoming. It's everything I've ever wanted a Spider-Man movie to be. It feels like it's ripped straight from the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man, and fittingly, they included a "special thanks" to Brian Michael Bendis in the credits. I adored this movie.

Holland-4.5(What else can I say other than he's the Spider-Man I've always wanted to see on the big screen. His performance actually reminded me a lot of Josh Keaton's portrayal in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, which is high praise indeed. Any way, yeah, absolutely perfect.)

Keaton-4.5(I have to give him a great deal of credit here because I've always thought The Vulture was one of the lamer villains, and even here the writing is good, but kind of standard, although one element was done very well. Keaton though manages to make him very interesting and carries a considerable menace. He gives you just enough of a taste early on that this is a guy you don't want to mess with, which makes the big moment of his performance have the impact it needs. Said moment is almost unbearably intense due to Keatons' astounding performance in the scene.)

Batalon-3.5(Could have been annoying, but I found him surprisingly endearing and pretty funny.)

Downey-3.5(Classic Stark.)

Zendaya-3(Not much to do, but she delivered her sarcastic comments well.)

Tomei-3(Also doesn't have much to do, but she's always good and that's the case here. She's got a great chemistry with Holland and shows, in the brief time the film gives her, that she very much cares for him. Also, I have to give special mention to her absolutely hilarious final delivery.)

Favreu-3(One note, but enjoyably so.)

Harrier-3(Once again, not much to do, but she has good chemistry with Holland, which is really all that's required of her.)

Starr-3 (Again, not much to do, but I thought most of his lines were pretty hilarious.)

Marshall-Green-2.5(He's the standard thug, and he's OK at it, but it's been done better, even in this movie.)

Woodbine-3(Also kind of a standard thug, but he brings something to it.)

Revolori-3(He's amusing.)

Glover-3(Always nice seeing him, and made the absolute most out of his part.)

Burress-3(Even less to do than Starr, but I thought his line about Captain America being a war criminal was pretty damn funny.)

Connelly-3.5(I actually kind of loved how much personality she brought to Karen/"Suit Lady".)

And it hurts me to add this to this post, but R.I.P. George A. Romero and Martin Landau.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top 10 short films.

Anonymous said...

Matt: Kind of a shame that series was cancelled, it was good, and that's coming from someone who isn't crazy about Marvel cartoons.

Louis Morgan said...


The Shelob Scenes - (Jackson goes all the way into his horror background here along with encouraging Shore to do the same in such a an effectively creepy sequence that stands out against the rest of the series in the right. In addition though it is one of the most hopeful scenes with one of my favorite individual shots in the series being Sam's sudden appearance to rescue Frodo.)

The Crack Of Doom/Don't Let Go - (Again a testament to the relationship that this scene is so effectively moving, and it is a nice extra touch rather than Frodo just not getting up like in the book, though I do kind of prefer Gollum dancing to his demise.)

The Grey Havens - (Heartwrenching in the right way and for me every ending beat does hit just as intended. It is one emotional release after another that feels absolutely earned and this is one of the most powerful so well found through the performances of each.)


That bathtub scene truly is something, something terrible. Everything about it really is horrible, and feels so odd within the film itself. Fan service at its very worst.

The confrontation scene actually isn't terrible and with a better performance in Luthor could have been genuinely menacing. I will say though part of it is problematic still with the swiftness that Superman goes to seemingly kill Luthor.

Will do.


Kim - 4(Song gets the stronger arc to be sure as Kim for much of the film is the good hearted detective. Kim does well though to convey a genuine passion to find the killer yet there is just enough of almost an unintentional sense of superiority in his manner towards the other detective. He does have his switch though which he realizes well as a heat of the moment, and he absolutely delivers in bringing the power to the tunnel scene.)

the other Song - 3(He's good in just bringing that sense of a greater maturity and offers the right calm with his performance that matches what his character needs to be.)

the other Kim - 3(His performance works at being effectively simplistic for the most part in being basically just a blunt object that goes for the path of least resistance. He does go further in his later scenes though in portraying not really a guilt, yet a somberness over having been called out for his actions.)

Such a modest yet chilling scene as the film so effectively set up the song's nature and what it is attached to.

RIP George Romero, and Martin Landau.