Some stunning films fade away after making an international splash. However, Bong Joon-ho infests your mind once again with the magnificent modern-day masterpiece “Parasite.”
A Korean family of four- Kim Ki-taek (father), Choong-sook (mother), Ki-woo (son) and Ki-jeong (daughter)- live in a shabby sub-basement and accept awkward low-paying jobs, such as folding pizza boxes, struggling to make money. One day, Ki-woo’s best friend Min-hyuk visits and gifts the family a large rock, a symbol for prosperity, before leaving to study abroad. Min-hyuk proposes Ki-woo to take over as an English tutor for the wealthy Park family and look after Da-hye, the Park’s daughter and prospective student. Realizing it might be a golden opportunity, Ki-woo accepts the offer and poses as an experienced English tutor despite only possessing military service and minimal exam experience.
Thanks to Min-hyuk’s recommendation, Ki-woo now dubbed Kevin wows Mrs. Park and demonstrates his dedicated, detailed-oriented teaching abilities before being hired immediately. Although happy to find a replacement English tutor, Mrs. Park can’t quite locate a good art teacher for her son when Kevin brilliantly brainstorms and suggests his “cousin’s college friend” named “Jessica” (Ki-jeong) to implement her artistic abilities. Both Kevin and Jessica have infiltrated the Parks’ inner circle changing their family’s fortune in the process, but will their ingenuity negatively impact the fragile ecosystem between the Park and Kim families?
This powerful Palme d’Or film furiously captivates your attention and continues transforming before your very eyes. “Parasite’s” profound impact immediately attracts you with its heartbreaking, yet humorous opening with a struggling Korean family “stealing” Wi-fi below a café and never ceases to mesmerize. “Parasite” persists as an aesthetically amazing and lovely layered commentary about classes. The powerful Parks project a luxury lifestyle without a care in the world while the Kims scrape together their existence any which way to survive moving up the economic ladder.
Bong Joon-ho has continually created larger than life brilliant, breathtaking movies and “Parasite” adds another amazing addition to his filmography. This sensational, seductive movie pulls you in immediately and might be one of the most essential viewing experiences of the 21st Century. Bong beautifully presents the disturbing distorted reality revolving all around the world with the greed of capitalism and the disproportionate inequality happening in every country. These clever observations are presented through two distinct and different families with delightful dark humor having you question why have these things become normal.
“Parasite” is hands down the best film of 2019 and a must see Top 10 film. Unlike most foreign films, this movie is undoubtedly an exceptionally entertaining crowd pleaser and will absolutely transcend language barriers. Once again, Bong Joon-ho has captured our imagination and exceeds expectations exponentially with one of the best carefully crafted, contemporary movies in years!
For the fourth time, Song Kang-ho headlines another amazing collaboration with director Bong and cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo returns for his third collaboration as well. Bong boasts an impressive film resume, but what makes his films so great are all his frequent collaborators
coming back and knocking it of the park. “Parasite’s” pitch-perfect cast cements itself and ceremoniously compliments one another immensely it’s hard to discuss one without mentioning another performer. Bong beautifully blends each character carefully creating interesting, impeccable characters who distinctly demonstrate the power of social satire. Song Kang-ho is the most universally recognizable of the cast, but the rest of his “family” equally steals scenes with Choi Woo-shik (Kevin), Park So-dam (Jessica) and Jang Hye-jin (Chung-sook) creating a fearsome foursome in the film. Not to be outdone, the naivety conveyed by Cho Yeo-jeong (Mrs. Park), the entitled elitist Lee Sun-kyun (Mr. Park) and the versatile Lee Jung-eun (Gook Moon-gwang) enhance this weird, wild and entertaining movie.
Although heart-wrenching, this hilarious movie showcases the greatness of Bong’s storytelling and decidedly demonstrates why he remains one of the world’s foremost filmmakers. He is unafraid to confront class conflict and explore the distinct dynamics of capitalism illustrating the polar opposites of the have and the have nots. One of the most memorable aphorisms arguably might be “Fake it till you make it,” which the Kim family frequently does once they’re introduced to the Parks. The Kim parents cleverly compliment their children’s cunning, con-artist abilities, which makes you wonder why do they continually struggle despite their obvious talents? Unfortunately, these “genius” grifters demonstrate the frustrations of inequality and why so many people are frustrated despite “success” being all around.
Throughout the film its pointed out that the Kims’ (especially Kim Ki-taek) possess a peculiar smell and “their stink,” although not appalling, reminds the wealthy Parks’ of the subway and “inferior” people. Despite every intention to escape and present an intricate illusion of a different lifestyle, that unmistakable “poor person smell” can’t dissipate and reeks of “boiled rags.” Their attempts to run away from poverty are always being judged and frequently reminded “they’re the help.” At one point, “Kevin” asks Da-hye “if he fits in” almost to remind the viewer you won’t be recognized by certain people and that’s because of their insecurities. Almost like an odor being wafted, these depictions soon consume and overtake you with rage. The real question is, will you be willing to take it?
The surreal surprises and charming class commentary created by Bong Joon-ho make “Parasite” a must see movie. “Parasite” probably is Bong’s best film and much like the title implies, infests your psyche and will be hard to shake off. Instead of a dull, dramatic movie discussing wealthy disparity, Bong beautifully captures our imagination with a clever comedy/drama/thriller. Honestly, this movie can be construed as a fantastic flawless film or an amazing accomplishment. Either way, “Parasite” will persist as a timeless classic cinephiles and cinemagoers will watch over and over again for decades to come.
4 out of 4 stars
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