Antun Kovacevic’s review published on Letterboxd:
Don’t watch any of the trailers and don’t read anything about it before watching it. Considering that, I’ll try to be as vague as possible in this review.
I haven’t seen a film like this in a long time. It was fascinating to watch how the film was unexpectedly unraveling whilst juggling many different genres and many different characters. That’s always a risky thing to do. Many films fail while trying to be many different genres at once, but this film pulled it off perfectly. I won’t go too much into details, just watch it for yourself and enjoy it.
This was the best-directed film of the year without any questions. I’m not the biggest fan of Bong Joon-Ho (although I’ve only seen his two American films) but this film was a masterclass in directing, and I truly hope he’ll get an Oscar nomination. His shot selection was excellent, and he always managed to pull out most out of a cadre. Suspense sequences were extremely suspense because of the way he framed them, same goes for dramatic and comedic sequences. Furthermore, the blocking was excellent. Whenever you have more than a few people at one place, you get a great sense of space and who is placed where. Usage of space, in general, was perfect, and he always pulled out the maximum from filming locations. Every shot of his tells some story. E.g. (maybe small spoilers) when certain characters are returning back to home at rainy night, you can see a great comparison and beautiful transition from higher class to lower class just from looking at his shot selection. He delivers a message of the film and he tells us what’s a film about just from framing the sequence.
Furthermore, he pulled out fantastic performances from every actor. The film balances a very thin line with the main family. They could’ve been unlikable characters very easily, but because of their performances, they managed to successfully walk on that tiny line.
I only have one issue with this film. I felt the ending of the film was detached from the rest of the film. The end itself didn’t have as strong punch as it could’ve, and I would say the film should’ve ended 5-10 minutes earlier. Whilst watching it, it felt like a short film added to a feature film. Maybe that won’t be an issue on a rewatch, but looking at it right now, that’s my only gripe with it.
In the end, this is a huge recommendation from me, especially if you don’t know anything about the film. That way, you’ll be on an extremely wild ride with it.