Parasite ★★★★★

Well this lived up to, if not outright exceeded, the tremendous hype around it. For all the praise it has been getting, what I did not know is that it would be easily the most entertaining and thrilling film of the year. There’s not much more one could want in a movie than what’s in all of this.

Bong Joon-Ho is, of course, a master filmmaker who knows how to craft films as twisty as they are strange, as brilliant as they are layered. And no matter the genre (or genres), he knows how to have a lot of fun as knife after knife of piercing ideology is inflicted upon the mind of the viewer. Here, he simultaneously transmit so much clear meaning with there also being so much depth and hidden symbols that I get the feeling I could watch this 10 times and still not come close to grabbing all of it.

But it all starts with the aces craft across the board. The set design is impeccable and the cinematography hits all the right notes. But it is the music and the script that carry the most weight. The score is legitimately one of the best I’ve ever heard in my life and is deployed as effectively as possible. And as for the script...

I’ve already mentioned how thoroughly entertaining and brilliantly revealed this all is but it is the extremely nuanced insights that make the movie soar. As someone who is not fully onboard with the “abolish capitalism” attitude that is chic but is certainly open to the ideas behind it, this all and all offers the greatest critique of that system since THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Every character here is fully realized, even though they run a very wide gamut of personalities and backgrounds. And ultimately, none of them are villains. Instead it is the economic institution that makes them so. Though they occasionally gain a glimpse or vision of what it could be like to break free of it, they are so entrapped within that no one here is ever able to realize it long enough to change. The cruelest effect of the current status quo is not anything specific but rather the way it presents itself so fully as the way things are that the populace at large may never be able to see a brighter day. Only illusions of one. Even beyond the class commentary, this film offers such a mindblowing visualization of The Absurd that it goes beyond a contemporary comparison like the Coen Brothers and goes all the way to the source of Albert Camus. 

And then there is the acting! I really thought nothing would come along to top THE FAREWELL and ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD for best ensemble of the year but this film did just that. There all so good it feels offensive to single out anyone but Cho Yeo-jang as the ditzy matriarch of the rich family stands out as particularly brilliant and it is longtime Joon-Ho collaborator Song Kang-Ho Who ultimately carries the film through to its conclusion (and as has been noted online, everyone here is really good looking).

What a movie. Can’t remember the last time I saw a crowd so universally ecstatic after seeing a film. Everyone in the lobby was a buzz with a unity that is so rare nowadays. If you’re a human being, see this movie. HER SMELL probably still holds down the #1 2019 film for me because it’s so up my alley, but make no mistake: this is a movie for the ages.

Also, not to end this on a dour note but I have to say something since it’s been so rampant. If you watched this film illegally with bootleg subtitles, or even with legitimate subtitles, you did a bad thing and you should feel bad. Don’t come on here saying you’re a fan of a filmmaker, if you can’t even be bothered to support their work. If someone gave you a compliment while they were mugging you, you wouldn’t care about the compliment. And don’t try to excuse it by saying you will end up paying for it eventually. You are supporting a system that abuses art. Period. Toughen up and wait for the general release. Genius is worth patience.

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