MatteoWouters’s review published on Letterboxd:
Summer 2019 list - #10
As a fan of Bong Joon-ho I was very excited to see this film and I'm very glad I was able to as soon as I could, especially considering I was particularly excited to see him making another Korean language film. This film somehow lived up to the already immense hype surrounding it from Cannes and elsewhere, blowing me away and being probably his best film and possibly the best film of the year.
This film overall was an absolute blast to watch. Anyone who's familiar with this director will definitely expect certain aspects of filmmaking quality that are basically a trademark in all of his films, like the impressive direction and pitch-perfect staging of the actors as well as the perfectly balanced blend of different tones. This rings very true with this film as well, with this last aspect being especially well-handled: it is pretty astonishing to see a film that is both funny, intense and scary each in really effective ways, sometimes all within the same scene, and just shows how much this director is in control of his craft, creating an experience that’s a true rollercoaster of emotions.
Almost every individual aspect of this film is top-notch. The acting is absolutely fantastic: all the actors do an excellent job performing and portraying their characters, with the characters themselves each having a lot of depth to them and being very well-defined, memorable and unique and entertaining in their own ways; each one has their purpose in the film and adds to the overall experience, and by the end of the film you feel like you know them like the palm of your hands, caring for them in everything they go through. The writing in general is just fantastic and pretty brilliant: if the superb handling of different tones and the careful detail in the characters weren't already enough, it also has a very engaging and entertaining plot and sequence of events that manages to be unpredictable with twists and turns while at the same time making subtle statements and having a lot of subtext to interpret and think about after the film ends, with plenty of clever and purposeful reincorporation as well.
The pacing is absolutely phenomenal and pretty much perfect: the film grabs you from the very beginning and constantly moves along, never feeling boring in the slightest and making the 2h12min runtime just fly by, with every scene developing the story and/or characters accordingly.
The music was also absolutely fantastic, accentuating different tones very well, and very appropriately used, making certain scenes exhilarating and an absolute blast to watch; it's very well shot with great shot composition and lighting, making certain shots look absolutely beautiful, and it has consistently great camerawork that always complements the scene. The set design is fantastic as well and, last but not least, this film has one of the best and most powerful resolutions and ending scenes to a film I've seen in a while.
This film blew me away and had me enthralled and in awe as I was watching it, being one of the most engaging experiences I've had with a film in a very long time, and after letting it sit for a couple of days it's constantly growing on me the more I think about it and I'm becoming more and more certain that it's a masterpiece, and I really don't have any issues with it other than very small nitpicks that are honestly fading away the more time passes and hold less value the more I think about them. I think that a film that I enjoyed immensely and thoroughly and also left me with plenty to think about for days after watching it is pretty exceptional, and the more I think about it the better it gets and I can see myself rewatching it a million times in the future, since it has everything I would want out of a film.
Sooooo yeah, Bong Joon-ho knocked it out of the park with this. This is a film that's not even been released in most of the world as of now and yet I think it might already be a classic (and I can see it appearing on the IMDb Top 250 someday as well): it is a crazy experience that is incredibly effective in multiple ways, being really accessible and entertaining while at the same time pretty challenging in its own ways, and I seriously cannot wait to see it again. I will definitely need to revisit this and "Memories of Murder" to determine which one is my favorite but regardless you should probably check out every film in Bong Joon-ho's filmography. If you want to see a master of his craft at work then I'd definitely recommend checking this one out as soon as you can. Don't look up anything and just GO SEE IT, you definitely won't regret it.
P.S.: Definitely gotta agree with it having one of the best uses of peaches in film along with Call Me by Your Name (although it's nothing like that film lol). It resulted in two specific scenes making me go "Oh my god this is awesome!"
Edit: Hey I knew it, it made it onto the IMDb top 250, hope it stays there!