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Director Bong Lauded by US Critics

2010/03/17 | 412 views | Permalink | Source

By Cho Jae-hyon
Staff Reporter

Director Bong Joon-ho of the local top-grossing movie "Mother - 2009" is drawing acclaim from U.S. critics as the thriller opened Friday in theaters in the United States.

Jim Hoberman, a prominent American film critic with The Village Voice, praised Bong for the film's well-woven plot and suspense.

"For all its jarring sound design and herky-jerky pacing, founded on sudden incidents or shocking accidents, "Mother - 2009" is deftly plotted, applying Hitchcockian suspense with a Hitchcockian sense of fair play", Hoberman said.

"It would hardly be surprising if Hollywood attempted a remake ― although it will be a rare studio movie with the nerve to recreate Mother's convulsive final reel, an ending that leaves its protagonist stranded in a moral netherworld, applying her acupuncture needle to the spot that 'unknots the heart'."

Indeed, Bong has said he watched Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 "Psycho" during preproduction, which examined a poisonous relationship between a mother and son.

"Even though the mother was dead in 'Psycho', I thought what would have happened to the relationship if the mother was still alive", Bong told The Los Angeles Times.

Joe Bendel of The Epoch Times, said "Mother - 2009" is more than just a genre mystery picture, though it is still effective on that level.

"Bong maintains an unsettling mood and skillfully handles the film's ironic revelations. Aside from one oddly surreal motif, "Mother - 2009" has an unremitting naturalism that actually acts as an effective restraint on Bong's tendency to politicize his films, seen at its most pronounced in the overrated `The Host' and to a lesser extent in his very strong sophomore feature 'Memories of Murder'," Bendel said. "Arguably, "Mother - 2009" is Bong's best, most mature work yet. Viscerally affecting, it is an unsparing portrait of maternal love and desperation".

Band X's Andy Klein said, "Bong's technique grows more assured with each film. The easy comparison here is to Hitchcock, but Bong moves at a slower pace, more like Claude Chabrol. And, like both of those forebears, Bong certainly knows how to generate suspense".

However, Armond White of the New York Press had a different perspective.

"He confuses genres rather than delving deeper into his subjects. A facile talent, Bong favors cluttered compositions, shifts in and out of focus for trite suspense; he hides or reveals information for generic rather than naturalistic purposes", White said. "Clearly, he'd rather make movies about rampaging squids than about a parent whose knowledge of the world and human nature translates to tentacles reaching into and exposing society's cruelty and life's unfairness".

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