Friday, March 19, 2010
How far would a mother go to protect her son? Nowhere is too far for the mother in acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho's new film "Mother" (마더 | South Korea 2009 | in Korean | 128 min.). The film tells an unforgettable tale about a mother's daunting effort to save her son who is accused of murder. The film is selected as South Korea's submission for this year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film.
Hye-ja (Kim Hye-ja) is a widow living in a small town with her 27-year-old son Do-joon (Won Bin) who is mentally challenged. After a high school girl is murdered, Do-joon is arrested as the suspect and Hye-ja is devastated. Unable to get help from incompetent lawyer and distrusted police, Hye-ja takes the matter into her own hand and is determined to prove her son's innocent.
Unlike Bong Joon-ho's previous Hollywood style blockbuster "The Host," "Mother" delivers a fascinating character study. While a gripping story unfolds gracefully, the film depicts a mother's profound desperation, love, and determination. Kim Hye-ja's pitch-perfect performance as the mother adds more depth to the character and earns her an Asia Pacific Screen Awards for Best Actress in 2009. It is a pleasant surprise that Won Bin is cast as the slow-minded son, contrary to his heartthrob or tough-guy image. This role extends his range to a new territory.
The plot is unpredictable and nothing seems it appears to be. Even the story intensifies as it proceeds, its twists and turns never overshadow the characters.
You probably have been in a situation that you wish that you were in a dream and you want to snap out of it. Then you can certainly relate to this mother and her nightmares. What is worse is that the more effort she puts in to turn things around, the deeper she sinks into the trouble. And, all the quest is driven by devoted love.