Comparison between Theatrical Version and Director's Cut (both included on Busch Media's German Blu-ray mediabook).
A few additional mini-deviations with a duration of less than 0.5 sec each were not listed in the report.
Background on MEMOIR OF A MURDERER
Made in 2017, Memoir of a Murderer is a minor highlight of South Korean cinema. The psychological thriller lets us dive into the confused mind of Byeong-soo, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease and was also active as a serial killer in his early years. It becomes increasingly difficult for him to distinguish between reality and imagination when more murders occur and he believes to have identified the culprit in his daughter's new boyfriend.
Much like Anthony Hopkins in the recent Oscar winner The Father, Kyung-gu Sol shines in the title role with a downright manic performance and some hard hitting violence keeps the genre fan entertained as well. Of course, the title is not to be confused with Bong Joon-Ho's 2003 Memories of Murder, although the latter is similarly recommendable.
Just like Deliver Us From Evil, the film ran in Korean theaters with an "over 15" rating, and later a second version was added with a raised 18 rating. This was also the case with Memoir of a Murderer a few years earlier in South Korea. At this point, we can already reveal that there are also some violent additions, but more about that later.
In contrast to Deliver Us From Evil, where only the shorter Theatrical Version was released outside of Korea, German buyers of Memoir of a Murderer now have both options. The studio Busch Media is releasing the Director's Cut and Theatrical Version together in a mediabook. The Amaray editions, on the other hand, only contain the Theatrical Version.
The Director's Cut of MEMOIR OF A MURDERER
In foreign forums, it was mainly discussed that there is an alternate ending to see, especially since the twist there already caused some discussion in the Theatrical Version. At this point, a clear SPOILER warning is given. We'll keep it a bit rough here in the intro, but at the latest with the exact listing at the end of this report, essential plot elements will of course be resolved. In both versions, Alzheimer's has once again extremely impaired Byeong-soo's perception. But the explanation to the events in the present changes almost completely in the director's cut and thus also specifically how you as a viewer perceive the antagonist Tae-joo.
Another major difference is that there is a new frame story for the story in the form of interrogations by the prosecutor. In the Theatrical Version, there is no such scene until the end, while the Director's Cut shows parts of it right at the beginning. As the movie progresses, there are always shots interspersed with the prosecutor asking questions about one or the other incident and expressing doubts about Byeong-soo's credibility.
In general, it can be said that some scenes were removed in the director's cut as well. The most obvious is that the Theatrical Version focuses more on the relationship between the main character Byeong-soo and his daughter Eun-hee. The bond between the two and thus the family fate get more space in the Theatrical Version. Like the previous deviation with the prosecutor, this of course clearly sets the course for the alternative ending of the film.
Last but not least, there is a commentary on the extended violent scenes, which were probably responsible for the increased age rating in Korea. Some additional bloody punctures can be seen, more murder flashbacks and a more detailed fight in the middle of the film. The longer scene where Tae-joo murders a woman stands out in particular. Whether this was really censored in favor of the lower rating in the homeland or the omission of the entire scene in the Theatrical Version was more of a dramaturgical gimmick is unknown. In any case, the various blows to the head wrapped in a plastic bag are probably the most brutal moment of the film. Nevertheless, the Theatrical Version does not make a conspicuously censored impression at any moment and one should not expect a blatant difference in the degree of brutality.
The basic framework of the film and the many beautifully photographed shots ultimately work in both Theatrical Version and Director's Cut. Both versions have their own merits and really give the film a different direction. It's a nice example of how consistent post-production can work towards a different resolution to the story.
Runtimes are ordered as follows: Theatrical Version on German Blu-ray / Director's Cut on German Blu-ray
After the introductory logos, the DC has insignificantly longer black.
01:45 / 01:47
The insert at the end of the first scene differs. While the Theatrical Version shows the film title, the Director's Cut (= DC) promises another memory. Depending on the source, Another Memory is accordingly also mentioned as an alternative title for the Director's Cut.
01:57 / 01:59-02:58
The DC begins with a visit from prosecutor Kim Min-je to Byeong-soo. After introducing himself, he asks Byeong-soo to tell him everything. In the process, you can already see a few quick memories in between. Kim says that they should start on September 8, when he was with the police.
Parts of this scene come in the Theatrical Version (= TH) differently mounted only at the very end (see 109:30-113:31).
02:04 / 03:05-03:08
The first shot of Byeong-soo at the precinct significantly longer.
03:02 / 04:06-04:18
Daughter Eun-hee bends down to change Byeong-soo's shoes, since he put them on backwards. She comments that he is like a child and asks if everything is okay.
03:05-03:16 / 04:21-04:27
In the TH, additional shots of Byeong-soo and Eun-hee. A shot of Byeong-soo in the DC is zoomed in a bit.
Theatrical Version 4.2 sec longer
Theatrical Version longer.
03:16-04:47 / 04:27-04:29
Before Byeong-soo gets to hear his detailed diagnosis, he is seen in the Theatrical Version having dinner with Eun-hee at a teahouse. She records on a tape that he should come home for dinner and plays this back to him right away for illustration. Byeong-soo isn't really cooperative, so Eun-hee gets up annoyed and says that she's tired of picking him up at the police station while she's at work. When she mentions that the tape would also have his song Spring Rain on it, he pockets it. She wants to give him another amulet with her address on it, and Byeong-soo promises her petulantly that she won't have to change his diapers.
+ 91.5 sec (= 1:31 min)
In the DC, the first shot at the doctor's office starts an insignificant 2 sec earlier afterwards.
Theatrical Version longer.
05:16-05:18 / 04:57
Insignificant shortening in the DC before recutting to the doctor.
+ 2.6 sec
05:35-05:36 / 05:14-05:15
The flashback starts a moment earlier in the DC. The TH shows Byeong-soo longer.
No time difference.
05:49-05:58 / 05:28-05:31
After the car rolls over, the TH shows Byeong-soo at the wheel. In the DC, a shot of the cottage instead.
Theatrical Version 5.7 sec longer.
Theatrical Version longer.
06:10-06:13 / 05:43
Byeong-soo a moment longer in the TH.
+ 3.5 sec.
07:21-07:27 / 06:51-07:12
It takes Byeong-soo a bit in the DC to remember the password for the PC first. Accompanying this, the TH is cut a bit faster and shows another shot of him with a concentrated look.
Director's Cut 15 sec longer.
12:12-12:17 / 11:57-12:18
The Theatrical Version drives past Byeong-soo in the forest a little longer and fades to black.
The Director's Cut instead interjects a short bit of the interrogation of prosecutor Kim again. He looks at Byeong-soo's shoes and asks how many people he would have killed.
Director's Cut 15.3 sec longer.
Immediately following, the TH shows a close-up of Byeong-soo pulling up the shutters of his store. The DC is a bit further away (and 1 sec shorter).
Theatrical Version longer
12:40-14:10 / 12:40
Before Byeong-soo gives the cat an overdose of anticancer drugs, Eun-hee stops by his house. She has a bag with her and says that the giant dumplings inside are his favorite. Byeong-soo acts disinterested, but pounces on the bag right after she leaves the room. Eun-hee comes back in and eats with him, grinning.
+ 89.5 sec (= 1:30 min)
14:57 / 13:27-13:30
Byeong-soo digs out his cell phone and is seen for the first time.
22:50 / 21:23-21:52
After Byeong-soo's first encounter with Tae-joo, there is another short scene in the DC with lawyer Kim. He wants to know what happened next and urges the reluctant Byeong-soo to tell more.
23:16-23:30 / 22:18-22:25
After Byeong-soo wonders if the killer would have recognized him as well, he is seen in the Theatrical Version doing research on the computer. He comments on images from the crime scene involving two kidnapped girls that his daughter is in danger.
In the Director's Cut, instead, only the previous shot of Byeong-soo is slightly longer and he adds here that it wouldn't matter. Another close shot of him follows, where he states that he could not tolerate the second killer next to him.
Theatrical Version 6.5 sec longer
Theatrical Version longer.
23:38-23:45 / 22:33
Only in the TH is Byeong-soo still asked his name by the policeman on the phone. He hangs up.
+ 7.2 sec
23:45 / 22:33-26:54
In the DC follows an episode of Tae-joo's everyday police life. He sits in the patrol car while his colleagues conduct a house search. The wanted woman escapes, but Tae-joo notices this and confronts her in a back alley. The woman acts petulant and walks away, whereupon a beefy guy blocks Tae-joo's way. After choking him a bit, Tae-joo gets the upper hand and the guy slumps down unconscious. In the house, he picks up the woman, who immediately says remorsefully that she will never go back to gambling. She mentions that her father is a policeman. Tae-joo seems gracious at first and tells her that his father was also a policeman. As a montage, he goes on to talk about humiliating him in front of the other villagers when he did something wrong as a child. In between, we see him pull a bag over the woman's head and brutally beat her several times.
Thereupon Byeong-soo looks at info about Tae-joo and a murder case on the PC. Lawyer Kim then summarizes again in the interrogation that Tae-joo would thus have killed the woman near the casino.
261.1 sec (= 4:21 min)