Mom knows best, but that advice can sometimes be dead wrong.
The Korean film “Mother” serves as an example.
The movie begins as a simple tale in which Kim Hye-ja plays a poor woman, known only as Mother, who works in an herbal shop and cares about her twentysomething son Joon Yoon-do (Won Bin) more than anything. He’s all she has in the world, and the duo share everything from dinner to the only bed in their dwelling.
But things don’t stay static for long, and that’s because Joon is no ordinary son. He takes stupid to a high art, walking home alone one night in a drunken daze, following a pretty girl as if he’s Alice heading to Wonderland. After a failed pick-up attempt, Joon makes it home.
The next morning, the girl who got away is found dead. Her body hangs over the ledge of a rooftop, and the police accuse Joon of the murder.
Mother is crushed and becomes a maternal vigilante.
This is where the movie shines. As the mom digs deeper into the murder, you get dragged into dozens of intense moments. There’s a scene in which she’s only peeking into a closet, but it’s so engaging that there’s no way you can’t be thinking, “What is behind those clothes?”
“Mother” is good at making you wait. The film rarely aims to startle with a cheap scare. Instead, it unwinds slowly and expertly. And the film is worth watching because it’s shot brilliantly, and the mom is unflinching in her quest to save her son.
She even employs a man to kick people’s teeth out to obtain clues. It’s compelling to watch her take the law into her own hands and become more Steven Segal than Angela Lansbury.
Overall, “Mother” is an investigation into dedication.
There’s little the mother wouldn’t do to help her son. It’s a twisted tale about the power of one woman, which doesn’t make it hard to believe the words mother and murder are spelled with identical Korean letters.
The film is playing at the Oklahoma City Museum of Arts on Friday and Saturday, June 4 – 5, at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.