Parasite ★★★★★

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Metacritic Metascore: 96
IMDB: 8.6


Release Date: 08 November 2019
Distributor: Neon
Budget: $10M
Worldwide Gross: $253,893,143
OSCAR Nominations: 6
OSCAR Wins: 4 - Best Picture
Total Film Awards: 255

2019 Ranked

Kim-ki-woo: "Cut, cut! Dad, your emotions are up to here. Bring them down to about there."

SYNOPSIS: Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.

Parasite can best be described as astonishing, astounding, stunning or any other synonym of amazing. The very idea of the plot is simple but incredibly hard to execute and that's why it's editing is pitch-perfect and leads to an unexpectedly shocking and brutal ending.

The film is a reflection upon poverty and wealth, an issue that is visible and salient in South Korea where the film is set. It uses humor, likable characters, and a mischievous pace to draw in the viewer. Like a citizen walking towards the crime scene tape and not away, we unwittingly come to consider what it means to be poor, what it means to be rich, and the volatile interface between the two.

TRIVIA: The Parks' house, said in the film to be designed by a fictional architect named Namgoong Hyeonja, was a set completely built from scratch.

The biggest forte of Parasite is the screenplay as it impeccably mixes comedy, drama, and horror featuring flawless pacing, breath-taking cinematography, a beautiful score and a brilliant cast making it a masterpiece.

TRIVIA: Director Bong Joon Ho's win of four Academy Awards in one ceremony ties him with Walt Disney, who also won four Oscars in one ceremony in 1954. However, since Disney won those awards for four separate movies, Bong still holds the record for most Oscar wins by a single person for a single film.

In this down-to-earth-ness, the filmmaker, Bong Joon-ho, explicitly calls on viewers to interpret the movie on different levels. From the opening scenes, the Kim family son, Ki-woon, repeats the word 'metaphorical.' He is ostensibly talking about a rock that is supposed to bring wealth, but we viewers are left to open up wider horizons of meanings, such as societies of great inequality must inevitably devolve into transactional-parasitic relations; wealthy families in the midst of poverty must inevitably defend against the social incursions of poorer people doing what they can to survive, as well as defending against the psychological incursions of bad conscience. In every rich household, there is something hidden in the basement, as least psychologically.

TRIVIA: Won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the first Korean film to ever do so.

This film holds its line against the temptation to explicitly condemn the evils of inequality. Instead, it relentlessly represents the dynamics of inequality, drawing away from the judgment of individual characters, leaving it to viewers to make sense of it. Being vague enough to not spoil the ending, the film's climax portrays violence bubbling up as an expression of long-suppressed resentment. It does so in light of a jarring juxtaposition between the despairing circumstances of the poorer family hitting rock bottom and the oblivious self-centeredness of the rich family who are circumstantially geared by the everyday realities of inequality to not want to know about anything outside their bubble.

TRIVIA: This is the first film not in the English language to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

If the film has a political point, it shifts the debate about inequality. Instead of talking about the 'deserving poor' or the 'greedy rich', the film describes the impoverished social ecosystem of unequal societies, and the social roles and habits these societies require of their people. Violence in the face of absurd levels of inequality does not come from character flaws. But, rather, it emerges as the breaking point of the logics and habits of inequality taken to their respective extremes.

Taking everything into account, Parasite is a true work of art and a rare and extraordinary masterpiece.

DIRECTOR: Bong Joon Ho
WRITER: Bong Joon Ho
FILMING LOCATIONS: Goyang, South Korea

Let's have a discussion:

Did you enjoy it? Did you think it was deserving of Best Picture?

What was your favorite / least favorite aspect of it?

Who was your favorite character?

Did this film shape your perception on foreign films and encourage you to watch more of them?

Fact-Checking / TRIVIA Source: Parasite Trivia

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Directing - 5/5
Screenplay - 5/5
Editing - 5/5
Acting - 5/5
Cinematography - 5/5
Prod Design - 5/5
Pacing - 4.5/5
Sound - 5/5
Enjoyment rating - 10/10

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