Parasite Review

Cast: Song Kang-ho, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Chang So-dam

Director: Bong Joon-ho


Parasite is the type of movie that goes way above anything I’m anticipating.  I think after I watch this movie again two or three times I’ll have a true appreciation for everything shown here, but for it’s worth my first viewing provided pretty much everything I’m looking for from a movie.  On the surface level you can understand the film and what it’s plot means, but when you take a look at the symbolism and the deeper meaning to everything, you start to recognize the genius behind everything Bong Joon-ho is trying to say.  An easy contender for one of the best movies of 2019, Parasite is not something audiences will be used to, and this case it works in the best ways possible.

The film follows the Kim family, father Ki-taek (Song), mother Chung-sook (Chang), and children Ki-woo (Choi) and Ki-jeong (Park), a poor Korean family struggling to get by but well-equipped with street smarts.  When Ki-woo gets a job as an english tutor for a wealthy family, he leverages this position to get his family other positions working for the family.  Parasite spends 132 minutes dissecting the needs and desires of the Kim family as well as the work they put in to keep their family alive.  Much like Waves, Parasite can be broken down into several sub-movies within the overall arch of the film.  With the first half really serving as a setup piece and the second half truly bringing everything together, Parasite is carefully made at the most basic level and really shows off Bong’s ability to plan out every single scene to make sure it has the most significance possible.  Bong has truly emerged as one of the most prolific directors of this generation and his ability to take complex issues and represent them in a human format shows that Bong has a talent and gift as a director and can be as sensitive and creative as he wants to be with positive results.  It’s a bit of a slow burn, but as more details get revealed about the Kim’s situation, you come to a startling realization about everything and the conclusion feels just as amazing as the beginning does.  The one thing I appreciated from Parasite is the consistency with how details are presented and how everything ties together.  While the technical aspects such as the cinematography and editing deserve to be recognized, the strongest element of Parasite may be the story.  The ability to explore capitalism from the angle of those who benefit from it and those who suffer from it is incredible and shows that Bong can take something purely theoretical and present it in a human and relatable way.  When you combine all of these elements and then add a stunning group of ensemble performances, you can come to the conclusion that Parasite has a legitimate case to make for being the best movie of 2019.  2019 has been a strong year for international movies, but Parasite looks as close to a sure thing when it comes to being the best one of the year.

Overall, Parasite has evolved the foreign-language genre in a way that very few movies do.  This is on the same scale as 2018’s Roma and shows us that sometimes the best movies are the ones we can’t understand without subtitles.  I’m curious what the long-term reputation will be for a movie like Parasite, but I can absolutely see this movie being shown in film school courses for years to come.  If any movie deserves to be one of South Korea’s highest grossing films ever it would be Parasite and I’m glad to see it’s performing as well financially as it is critically.

Overall Score: 9/10

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