Mikkel Abel’s review published on Letterboxd:
Bong Joon-ho's latest genre-bending work PARASITE (2019) already made history. Highest rated feauture film on Letterboxd, sure. Won the world's most prestigious film award at Cannes even being the first Korean film to ever do so, easy - despite the nation being perhaps the strongest contender of this century when it comes to repeatedly delivering critical acclaimed films. One can only wonder whether the Oscars and the rest of the forthcoming award shows will be in favour of Bong Joon-ho. Not because these awards really matter in any sense to prove greatness, but victory would serve as evidence to the world's neglect of Korean cinema's latest new wave, and finally ascertain why nobody currently mathes their average outlet of high quality pictures. Last year's omission of Lee Chang-dong's BURNING (2018) should be considered a criminal offence, but hopefully this year's award commendation will belong to Bong Joon-ho and South Korea as 2019 surely belongs to PARASITE.
PARASITE can immediately be considered a classic. Just like one could ascribe BURNING, this film appears to be the pinnacle of the sort of cinema the modern Korean film industry has been maturing into. An entertaining genre product that addresses societal issues and leaves the viewer food for thought by either force-feeding the issues of late capitalism down your throat, or leaving subtle hints about class hypocrisy and how we as people feed on each other's wealth - and scarcity - in one endless circle of consumerism, supply and demand.
Bong Joon-ho isn't reaching his heights with PARASITE, but it's a tremendous effort regarding the dissectment of class differences and deconstruction of genre conventions. As was Bong possessed by the spirit of late Alfred Hitchcock he crafts a suspenseful structured narrative, where he'll make you laugh only to stab you right in the back afterwards. If Hitchcock was the master of suspense, it would only be fair to deem Bong Joon-ho the master of suspenseful tragicomedy. Who else could mix the hunt for a serial killer with high flying dropkicks or modelize a vicious monster based on Steve Buscemi's face? In the vein of Hitchcock Bong Joon-ho teases his audience with a bomb that will explode eventually, but he doesn't settle for placing it other the table of his unknowing characters. He places it in the house and subverts a home-invasion film into something much more deliberately cruel as this invasion rise above the terrorizing of good people. PARASITE is filled to the brim with this tragic comedy, wits, twist and turns. You'll never figure out where the story is going. At one pivotal scene Bong Joon-ho must be laughing his ass off as we all probably thought we'd knew what the film would turn into, but nope, he pulls the rug out right under us and shifts the mood one more time. A masteful film, which will probably grow on me, all led by impeccable performances by legendary Song Kang-ho as another loveable father figure, Cho Yeo-jeong as a sweet, naive mother and the three cutest screen dogs you'll ever see.