Although somewhat far-fetched, “Mother” is an intriguing, violent, and unsettling thriller that never shies away from the darkness in life. Brilliantly depicting the foremost extent in which the protectiveness of kin reaches and how disconcerting and blind this shielding can be. “Mother” is in no way easy to watch. Granted, this film’s heavy, monstrous ferocity and unpleasantness is incredibly difficult to absorb, let alone grasp. Nonetheless, to deny its morals, heart, and appalling nature is to reject what evidently makes us human. However, do not mistake “Mother” as some sort of typical, excessively gory, and unnecessarily malicious film like most of the genre’s trash, it is nothing of the sorts. While “Mother” does deal with some horrific content, what makes it truly despicable, unnerving material is the subtle and unflinching way it is presented. Usually the most terrifying things aren’t something of substance and complexity, rather common and simple with a unique twist.
Do-joon (Bin) lives in a small town in South Korea with his mother (Hye-ja). Do-joon is shy and slightly amiss and distant, however, he is prone to attack anyone who insults his intellect. One day, a girl is brutally murdered and evidence places Do-joon at the scene and the last one to see her alive. Upon being arrested and sentenced to serve jail-time, Do-joon’s mother is convinced her son didn’t commit the crime and sets out to prove his innocence using any means necessary.
Co-written and directed by Joon-ho Bong, director of critically and universally acclaimed films such as giant monster flick “The Host” and detective thriller “Memories of Murder.” Bong will look to continue his rapid ascent to becoming one of the most revered and visionary filmmakers of our time with his first English-language film “Snowpiercer,” which is set for release sometime in 2013. Bong, utilizes facets that he has compiled over time and inducted into his repertoire so faultlessly. They compliment his style so vigorously that each one leads into the other in such a seamless transition, and “Mother” is no different. His intelligent, clever script is bursting with unbelievable tension, grounded characters, and unparalleled sequences of such honesty and relevance. Not to mention his work behind the camera has never been better. “Mother” is easily one of his best films and an argument could be made that it is his most complete and frightening work to date. “Mother” is an all around immaculate job by Joon-ho Bong.
“Mother” is a film who’s success is heavily reliant, rather, judged on the performance of an individual. If this character is not portrayed infallibly, the entire picture falters. Luckily for Joon-ho Bong and company, they found the perfect lead in Hye-ja Kim. Her take on an over-protective, infinitely loving mother is remarkable to say the least. While there is a dark side to her, a method in her madness so to speak. Kim takes these traits and moulds them into tender, generous tendencies that, when compared to their disgusting, violent nurturing origin, are unrecognizable. Honestly, it is one of the best performances I’ve ever witnessed. As for her son, portrayed by Bin Won, who adds a swiftness and innocence to his characters unbalanced, mischievous ways. Provokes an avalanche of sympathy even though his mindset is corrupt. This is a testament to the power of his persuasive performance.
“Mother” is undoubtedly a tough watch, but if you can muster the courage, it’s a valuable, repulsive ride. Joon-ho Bong really pushes the envelope with every sequence and never lets up. While there is a distinct balance between airy imagery, cringe-worthy violence, and psychologically disturbing scenes, they are unpredictable. One moment you gaze into a vast field with serenity in your eyes, the next you’re turning away at the sheer blunt and brutal force of “Mother’s” vicious, at times subtle ferociousness. To summarize, “Mother” is impeccably acted, directed with firm vision, and offers up a few laughs while being utterly nerve-shredding. Proceed with caution…
Mother: 8.5 out of 10.