Memories of Murder is a policier based on the actual case of the first recorded serial killer in Korea's history. The rape murders began in 1986 in Hwaseong, a small village south of Seoul, and continued for several years during a time of political upheaval in South Korea. Detective Park Doo-man (Song Kang-ho of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), an overconfident local cop, is assigned to the case, taking along his partner, Detective Cho Yong-koo (Kim Rwe-ha), whose interrogation methods involve covering his boot with a cloth so it won't leave scratches on detainees' necks. After the first few murders, they quickly narrow their sights on a suspect (Park Noh-shik). Seo Tae-yoon (Kim Sang-kyung of Turning Gate), a young detective from Seoul, volunteers to work on the case. Park resents his presence, but Seo quickly realizes that the locals have the wrong man. Before he can share his ideas, the department is humiliated, and the police chief is replaced. Seo quietly begins to piece together a pattern to the murders. For one thing, they all took place in the rain, and the victims all wore red. But the murderer seems to be one step ahead of the cops. Working independently (they disdain each other's methods), Park and Seo stumble upon another suspect, and the two local cops work on beating a confession out of him. But it's soon clear that they've arrested the wrong man yet again. They become more desperate, and the case begins to take a devastating toll on the policemen's lives. Memories of Murder, directed by Bong Joon-ho from a script by Bong, Kim Kwang-rim, and Shim Sung-bo, was a huge box-office hit in South Korea. The film won several awards at the 2003 San Sebastián Film Festival and was also shown at the 2004 New York Korean Film Festival.
by Josh Ralske synopsis