A few years ago, the South Korean monster movie The Host played to sell-out audiences in Hillsboro Village. Its director, Bong Joon-ho, returns with the new thriller Mother, easily our pick of the weekend's movie selections. From the Scene's review:
Mother keeps us off-guard from its very first shot, of an aging woman swaying sinuously in a field to music only she can hear. Identified only as Mother (Kim Hye-ja), she cares for a grown simpleton son (Won Bin) who's taken to heart all his mom's bad advice -- especially about what to do whenever someone bandies the term "retard." When a girl is found murdered, with evidence nearby linking the son, Mother first plays supplicant to the careless, diffident police -- then detective when the dead girl's missing cell phone offers a key to the mystery.
Bong specializes in scenes of comic volatility that sprawl in all directions. An encounter between Mother and the dead girl's grieving parent is a head-on collision of shame, fury, spleen and defiance, and the scene's tilt into near-slapstick only adds another layer of unsettlement. But there's never the sense that Bong is simply jerking us around by jamming gears, as in some of his countryman Park Chan-wook's baroque genre pieces. A jaw-unhinging mid-film twist violently wrenches the movie out of its familiar orbit, sure, but not for a cheap gotcha. Instead, Bong re-centers the mystery from a whodunit to something far more disturbing -- a whydunit, with a gnarl of shared guilt at its core.
If you're not convinced, check out the trailer above. The 6:45 show Saturday night will also feature an introduction by Ann Choe, president of Vanderbilt's Korean Student and Scholars Association, who will point out some of the cultural cues Western audiences might miss.