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Parasite Movie is Another Win From Bong Joon Ho

Parasite poster

If you’ve ever heard people say that a film was unable to contend with its own tonal shifts or that it didn’t know what it wanted to be, Bong Joon Ho is the master of doing it well. If you’re a fan of going into films blind like I am, trying to guess at the premise will give you a confusing start. Recent film releases like Parasite are why everyone is looking, finally, in the right direction. No blood-sucking creatures are infecting the world. Instead, the premise focusses on a family; and the first act is responsible for being the comedy section of the movie.


Movie of the Year

This is how Bong Joon Ho gets you to relax. But with an uneasiness that you just can’t put your finger on. It’s in spite of the dire situation this family is in that you laugh with them. The Kim family lives in a sh*itty part of the neighborhood. A drunk man often swings by to urinate outside of their accommodation. They have a job folding pizza boxes and have to squat in parts of their home to pilfer wifi from nearby businesses. Somehow though, they are the type of family most can only dream of. Supportive and loving with a penchant for looking at the world with rose-tinted glasses and optimism.

Woo-sik Choi and So-dam Park in Parasite
Woo-sik Choi and So-dam Park figure out the sweet spot for free wifi.
Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, Woo-sik Choi, and So-dam Park. Bong Joon Ho movies.
Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, Woo-sik Choi, and So-dam Park as the Kim family.

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Social Commentary

There are tonnes of social commentary throughout this film. So much that can be taken or noticed one way or another that I would bore you sh*tless be remiss in discussing it in a review. I will say this though, The Kim family are not the parasites. So headstrong is the title that I wondered who the actual leeches were in this story. It’s easy enough to drop a blanket over everyone in the film but I think that’s too blasé.

Can any of them really be described as parasites? They may think of each other as freeloading sycophants. However, I eventually decided the dependant aspect was not meant to be applied to the collection of characters in the film. None of them fit the description of taking from society in such a way that it is all that they are. Instead, I think the imposing force of a ‘life-sucking’ candidate is more aligned with the universe created for these people.

Laugh, Cry and Be Shocked by Bong Joon Ho

By the second act, things seem pretty good for the Kim family. They have made the very best of the opportunity thrown their way. It’s easy to root for them even though their behavior can’t be seen as ‘doing the right thing.’ They are culpable in their actions. Aside from this, you can’t help being impressed with the application of their divided talents. You rejoice in the team spirit of this well-organized group.

Bong Joon Ho is the master of combined emotions especially by the time you reach the middle of this amazing feature film. Their host family, the Parks’, show a side to them you simply couldn’t have predicted. The manner we are shown this is brought forth in the most spectacularly invasive way possible. If ever you were going to mortally wound someone you thought was less than you through social standing, then bringing it down to the smell they carry would have to be it.

How Long is Parasite

The cinematography was astonishingly precise and the use of a wide lens to capture the finale properly was mere perfection. And what a finale it was. I was delighted to discover that the man behind the up close and personal shots was Hong Kyung-pyo who also did 2018’s masterpiece; Burning. Parasite is a film that runs more than two hours and you never really want it to end. It’s easy to see why this is the first Korean film ever to win the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5

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