(Cinema City)


The film begins all weird-like but we are not surprised. We have recently seen “Gwoemul” (aka “The Host”) and we know that this guy Bong Joon-Ho is a mad cat. So we enter the theatre not sure what to expect. Some crazy genre-bending and genre-pushing flip flop of a film that will delve into many different genres and come out equal bits tragic with equal bits outrageously hilarious.

The title character of “Mother” is dancing…dancing for the camera, and we are not surprised.

The “child” is actually a slow witted full grown adult (twenty-seven years old) by the name of Do-joon. He has trouble remembering things. He has a friend that takes advantage of him. He sleeps in his mother’s bed. Just don’t call him retarded. Because he has a bad habit of seeing red when that happens.

There are very funny sequences here. Do-joon is hit by a car. This isn’t funny. But he isn’t hurt seriously. But him and his buddy track down the car at a golf course. His buddy inflicts some damage to the vehicle. Do-joon follows suit…and winds up sliding off the car and onto his ass on the ground in his attempt at a jump kick.

And then the film switches gears. In its dark mystery, what is surprising is the lack of surprises. The other shoe doesn’t drop. It is a film about a mother who loves her son and that loves blinds her to anything but the fact that Do-joon is a good boy. Naturally, when Do-joon is accused of murder, she refuses to believe he did it. And Do-joon states he didn’t do it. The remainder of the flick finds Mother doing whatever she can to prove her sons innocence.

I should watch “The Deep End” soon. In that flick, Tilda Swinton plays a mother who has to deal with the fact that her children actually did commit murder. And she can either help them get away with it, or turn them in. I hear it is a very dark film.

The second half of “Madeo” can be read as very dark I suppose; except most of the characters have been painted as mere caricatures for the first part of the movie. This could be a case of Bong Joon-ho once again having the film call his bluff when he takes it too far on the river. Or perhaps there is more here. The film certainly feels mature at the end. And it certainly doesn’t at the beginning. But the feelings and emotions of the film seem more solid than in “Gwoemul.” This may be a film that may have more power in its second viewing, like “El espiritu de la colmena” (The Spirit of the Beehive). Because the film certainly does feel assured.

Do I think “Madeo” is as good as “El espiritu?” No. But I didn’t think much of that film at first either. And now, I love it as if it were a child. And you know how parents feel about their children.

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