Parasite ★★★★★

Director Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer) takes his work to the next level in Parasite, a film likely to be my favorite of 2019. It may even make my "best films of the 21st century" list!

A family of grifters living on the margins of society manage to work their way into the lives of wealthy, idealized professonals/socialites. Driven by excellent dialog, the story seamlessly moves from droll to hilarious to horrifying over the course of 130 minutes. The strong story is boosted by some of the best performances I've seen this year. It was easy for me to forget I was watching actors.

But it's the art design and cinematography that really manage to blast the film over the top into classic territory. The house where most of the film is shot is breathtaking and perfect for contrasting the lives of the two opposing families. And the shot composition? It truly took my breath away. Each shot was so perfectly framed, it brought to mind no less than Andrei Tarkovsky (!!) for the meticulous nature of every frame. Certainly it doesn't reach the towering heights of a Kubrick or Tarkovsky film (seriously, what does?), but it's visual perfection marks Parasite as the work of director approaching a similar level of brilliance.

There is a whole thematic class struggle message flowing under the entire story, but I hardly had time to notice it, much less analysize it. I'll leave the critical theory to those who enjoy the more academic side of cinema. For me, a splendid looking film plus stellar acting plus a wild yet grounded story plus loads of laughs and gasps equals sheer cinematic bliss. It's one of the few must-see films of 2019.

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