We live on the edge of an era defined by Artificial Intelligence. Day by day, AI is being further integrated into our lives, with advances being made to make it more useful, more lifelike, and more knowledgeable. We've known for a while that this would happen, that AI would one day take over our lives, but now we are closer than ever to this vision of the future that we've held for so long. Cyberpunk has for decades been a genre of speculative fiction that held sway with a select sub-culture of people, with works like Neuromancer or Blade Runner defining people's lives, inspiring both awe and fear as they collectively imagined what the future might hold. Ghost in the Shell is a key part of this genre, one whose influence can be found across all forms of media, and the way that we viewed the future of the internet for decades was filtered through the lens of this movie, whether you knew it or not. Obvious influence is drawn from Blade Runner which came before it, but in it's more direct and specific confrontation of the perils of widespread adoption of the internet and the advances in Artificial Intelligence, Ghost in the Shell set itself apart from everything else, becoming something more than just another piece of fiction drawing inspiration from Ridley's accidental cyberpunk masterpiece. Never once being afraid to seem impenetrable or pretentious, Ghost in the Shell draws the audience in with stunning visuals, frenetic action, and iconic characters, and leaves them with questions of existence, consciousness, and identity. These questions have always haunted our species in one way or another, but Ghost in the Shell asks them in ways that deal directly with mankind's adoption and dependence in technology, and now even more than when the film was first released, the answers to these questions have become both more important, and more amorphous.
Memories of Murder is one of my favorite movies, and in my mind, genuinely one of the best movies ever made. Bong Joon-Ho, the mind behind Snowpiercer and The Host, has a style and driving philosophy that synchs up perfectly with how I feel about film. Each of his movies has some genre that it tackles, be it a monster movie, a post-apocalyptic survival thriller, or in this case, a police procedural. At their core though, each of his movies is about people. These broad genres are used only as ways to explore the human psyche, to see what truly makes up a person. In Memories of Murder, we find him at his best, directing an absolutely riveting mystery following a series of murders that really took place in South Korea in the late 80s that even on the surface level is an incredible film. But at it's heart, it is a story of people, how they react to tragedy, to helplessness, to frustration, to failure, and most of all, to each other.