Parasite ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

This is the kind of movie that it's inconceivable to think is playing somewhere around the clock because it seems like the showing you’re in is a singular event that cannot and will not ever be re-created. The film of the year. Maybe not the best, certainly not my favorite, but it so obviously is the film of 2019.

It takes on the extremely delicate issue of class politics in the least delicate fashion and with the most incendiary means available. There's no attempt to vilify the rich or lionize the poor, quite the opposite. The rich, while a bit nieve, are well-meaning, while the poor are vicious, almost animalistic creatures fighting one another in dingy basements for scraps. The house, a little diorama of modern capitalist life, which illustrates in no uncertain terms, what could and would happen if it's delicate ecosystem were to be disturbed.

So, what do we make of this? Is the great Bong Joon-Ho asking us to choose this uneasy peace, least the ghost of injustice rear its ugly, blood-smeared head from the basement? Are we really best left apart, segregated, separate and unequal? There's a huge amount of satire to help this all go down, but I can't help but be disturbed that this feels more like a warning against toppling systems of oppression. Which, at the very least, is a weird point to be making in a world where the costs of these systems is so apparent and catastrophic.

Politics aside, there’s obviously some breathtaking stuff here. I felt my mouth literally hanging open for long stretches, and could barely catch my breath scene to scene. But, I do think it ultimately topples under the weight of its huge ambitions. How naive I was hoping the two patriarchs from different worlds would rise up in their headdresses and together unwittingly save the day. Instead a bizarre, blood-soaked final act takes place to re-hammer every point that had already been made now in gruesome and disturbing fashion. As stunning a feat it is, I feel like Parasite ultimately overplays its hand and leaves a mixed political message.

Sometimes you just want to swat the brush out of the painter’s hand and shout, “it’s finished!”

Joe liked these reviews