a Healthy Disdain


Not to beat up on Hot Tub Time Machine, but it’s difficult to peruse this week’s “Now Playing” listings without experiencing the vague sensation that your intelligence is being insulted.  In truth, that’s nothing new, and as with most weeks, if you’re willing to ignore the marketing blitz for whatever 3-D Hollywood hack job that happens to be premiering, there’s usually at least one film to be found that’s genuinely worth your while.

This week, that film is Mother, the latest in a trio of thrillers that affirm writer/director Bong Joon-ho as one of the hottest talents in world cinema.  Like his North American breakout, The Host, and South Korean sensation, Memories of Murder Mother is yet another demonstration of Bong’s unique aptitude for marrying horror, hilarity, and genuine pathos.

Bong also appears to revel in subverting audience expectations, and does so, in Mother, by casting 68-year-old Kim Hye-ja in the title role.  Beloved in her home country as a matronly TV mom, Bong transforms Kim into an irrepressible manifestation of maternal fervor, more ruthless – yet more real – than Tarantino’s Bride.  Hers is a roaring rampage for justice when her mentally challenged, grown-up son is conned by police into confessing to the murder of a local school girl.  The audaciously unpredictable plotting is typical of Bong, but it’s Kim’s bravura performance that truly needs to be seen to be believed.  Mother is currently playing on select screens across North America, including at the Cumberland in Toronto, so catch it while you’ve got the chance.


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