With The Host, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho unpacked the cultural and geopolitical baggage of the atomic monster movie; this follow-up (2009) takes on the fractured Freudianism of Hitchcock’s Psycho. Kim Hye-ja, known in South Korea for her maternal roles, plays the mother of a mentally and sexually retarded man who’s fallen in with a local troublemaker; in one early scene the boy insists to his pal that he’s not a virgin, that he and his mother sleep together, though it’s not entirely clear whether he should be believed or even knows what he’s saying. When a local schoolgirl is murdered, all evidence points to the son, but the mother declares him innocent and stops at nothing to exonerate him. Bong’s opening and climactic scenes, in which the old woman bops around to a dance tune amid a vast field of yellow grass, are typical of the movie’s cockeyed poetry. In Korean with subtitles.
R • 2 hours 8 min • 2009