Memoir of a Murderer

Sal-in-ja-eu ki-eok-beob

To Catch a Thief meets Memento in this twisted Korean tale of fatherly love and killer instinct.


Dir Won Shin-yun
Prod You Jeong-hun, Won Shin-yun
Scr Hwang Jo-Yoon
With Sul Kyung-gu, Kim Nam-gil, Kim Seol-hyun
South Korea
UK Distribution JBG Pictures

When retired serial killer Byung-su is diagnosed with dementia, his daughter Eun-hee encourages him to keep a diary. Secretly recalling his murderous youth, Byung-su reflects on his days as a vigilante, picking off those he saw as human trash. But there’s a new killer in town and only Byung-su can identify him. If only he could remember where he wrote their name down. Meanwhile, his schedule is occupied by community centre poetry classes and roadside beers with his only buddy, the incompetent local cop. A black-hearted thriller shot through with dry humour, Memoir of a Murderer will delight fans of cynical Korean cinema who have no qualms about bad taste. The portrayal of Alzheimer’s is used to ingenious effect, playing tricks with the narrative as Byung-su’s memory eludes him. With Oldboy-style amnesiac lapses and Memento-esque conundrums, this is a twisted tale of fatherly love and killer instinct.

Kate Taylor