98. Mother (Joon-ho Bong, 2009)
Since Bad Lieutenant was something from the previous version of this list I thought I should try and post this next, new addition, as soon as possible. Just three movies into the list and already two Korean movies (not to mention two from 2009), Mother being the fourth feature and most recent from Joon-ho Bong. Mother focuses on a widowed mother's determination to clear the name of her only son, a young mentally disabled man, who becomes the prime suspect in the case of a girl's brutal murder. Her blind conviction drives her to fight and climb over constant barriers to clear his name and find the real killer.
Though, like his other films, Mother is superb overall, the most notable factor is Hye-ja Kim's blistering performance. Her mad, obsessed, desperate determination is so forceful, so thick and developed, that it nearly seems to form its own texture. Easily one of the best performances of the decade, Kim is mesmerizing. The film plays out like the equivalent of a mother lifting a car off their new born baby with adrenaline filled power, there's a madness, a desperate strength that is at once extraordinary and even frightening.
As mysterious and suspenseful as Mother very much is the movie, like those in Park's vengeance trilogy, contains a thoughtfulness that takes it beyond a mere detective story to unravel the truth. Also like Park's vengeance films there is a moral ambiguity that grows out of revelations that unfold within the movie. Blinded by her adoration for her son the mother's actions become continuously more desperate as she attempts to uncover evidence for his acquittal. Mother is a modern mystery with many components that make up the recipe of such great films from the likes of the Alfred Hitchcock. Though there's a deep psychological edge to the film, it's thoroughly thrilling, and also often times can have a twisted comedic bite. It's suspenseful filmmaking at its best.
Films from 2009 on List:
Mother (Joon-ho Bong)
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog)