James Heywood’s review published on Letterboxd:
I literally almost bought another ticket to Parasite right after watching it. This film... I am so sorry it took me so long to see this, but I get it now, I understand. This film nails every aspect of itself. Films like this are why I want to make cinema.
I am pretty new to what my uni course has dubbed "Asian Cinemas", the plural of cinema being very important. However, something that has become apparent to me is that the concept of genre in the select South Korean and Japanese films I've seen is a fluid one, especially in comparison to western and Hollywood cinema (of course, there are plenty of outliers in both areas of cinema). Films blend ideas and genres together, and I love this. It allows for really interesting, engaging and creative works to be made, and you always get surprised by where a film goes if you try and stay in the dark like I do.
Parasite is no exception, with a seamless blend of comedy, suspenseful thriller and drama. I would recommend going into this film knowing as little as you can, but since I'm pretty late to the party, I'll assume if you're reading this, you've seen it, so I'm going to delve further into theories than I usually would (mainly because I just want to talk about this piece of art). I love this combination of genres, it allows for breathing room between edge of your seat suspense, all whilst never taking you out of the immersion.
It also allows for dynamic and amazing performances, something that Parasite is brimming with. Every actor in this film gives their best, with such rich emotion, drama and humour, all when necessary. The family dynamic of the main four is so believable, their chemistry is excellent. In particular, the father, played by Song Kang Ho and the sister, played by Park So-dam give some of the best performances I've seen all year. But seriously, everyone is amazing, I wish I could just name them all!
I don't really know how to talk about the story without giving something away that I would consider a spoiler, but it is GOOD. There is so much going on to keep you involved, but you never get overwhelmed or lose track of what's happening. Parasite is so well paced, each moment has just enough time spent on it for you to feel the suspense, and the ending 20 minutes really leave you unsettled and pondering, which I think is a perfect way to end a film like this. Not every lose end is tied, this film makes you theorise and think.
The production design on this film adds so much, you feel the divide between the families and their lives everywhere. In the set, in the lighting, in the location, everywhere! This adds so much to the dichotomy of class presented in the film, something I want to talk about later.
All of this amazing production work is shown off beautifully, through Parasite's wonderful and awe inspiring cinematography. There are so many well framed shots throughout, each giving so much meaning to the scene. I especially loved the use of some of the longer and wider shots, which can be tricky to get right past actually just serving purpose to further the plot. There is one in particular around the water in the streets that amazed me. Amazing imagery to the ever growing list of other aspect of this amazing film.
No film is perfect, and in no way am I suggesting that Parasite is that. I think the very end is a little disjointed, it was a lot to come back from considering the 10 minutes before it. But some films make you marvel at both it and the medium, and make you realise why films exist, and why you love them so much. Why films can inspire, and that creative people can do anything with the art form. Parasite did this, and while it isn't the first film to, and won't be the last (hopefully), its films like these that make me so thankful that I want to be a part of a medium that can create works of art like this.