Parasite ★★★★★

"I don't think of this as forgery or crime."

Parasite is almost impossible to describe, not adhering to any genre, tropes, or tone throughout the movie. What starts out as a straightforward family drama shifts to a high-concept comedy, tracks towards psychological thriller, and then veers into subterranean horror. Of course there's an undercurrent of hilarity through it all, but it's ability to change the focus of that hilarity is what caught me off guard.

The obvious commentary on social class and divide never overshadows it's duties as an entertaining, visceral ride. The script is extremely tight and packed with clever story devices and really engaging moments. Everything is introduced for a reason and the way the movie subverts your expectations in a way that makes complete sense within the context of the story continually impressed me.

The filmmaking is just downright exciting. You understand from the start what Bong Joon-Ho is capable of and he almost never lets up, particularly hammering the viewer with unbearable tension and shock during a specific 30-minute long "heist" sequence. The continuing developments and new information that is constantly being divulged during this sequence never feels artificial but rather like an organic unraveling and natural consequence of the actions of this family.

On top of this the cinematography is effective in conveying the mood of the family. In particular it enhanced many of the comedic elements with whip-pans and jerky movements to show their train of thought, or the reintroduced wide shot of the Parks trudging up the stairs of their glamorous home.

I will say the execution of the birthday scene seemed a little clumsy, perhaps purposefully but it was a jarring break from the slow build-up and elegant staging of everything before. That being said it did little to bring down my opinion and I might appreciate it more with rewatch.

The entire movie permeates the sense that you're in the hands of someone who is confident in the quality of their story- who knows exactly how it has to be executed in order to nail every beat, every laugh, every gasp from the audience. A truly exceptional, tense, funny, confusing, clever, and horrifying movie that will be very difficult to top this year.

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