Parasite

Parasite ★★★★

I was delaying watching Parasite for a long time, mainly because of its incredible acclaim: highest rated movie on Letterboxd, first foreign film to win Best Picture, also won Palme D'Or. Even with my attempt to avoid enormous hype around this film, I still some out slightly disappointed. Things that bother me aren't giant, but they prevent me from looking at Parasite as a masterpiece. First one is pretty simple: Parasite's plot can often feel like a mess. It is sometimes very contrived and actions of some characters seem to be only to serve the plot. The movie is good at making this moments as seamless as possible, but I still noticed them. Second thing I take issue is the ending. With minimal amount of spoilers, ending is not as strong as possible both narratively and thematically. In narrative it offers a bit to much closure and I'd like it more if it was left more ambiguous. Thematically movie's ending doesn't fully deliver on movie's social critique for a bit of optimism. Also I really found that repeating 'It's so metaphorical' more than once is a bit redundant.

All this being said, Parasite is still pretty great. The movie's biggest strength is in contrasting lives of richer and poorer families. House of the richer family(Park) is perfect for them, it's looks very similar to apartments of some more wealthy people I've been in. The fact that house was built and lived in by famous architect was a nice touch, adding it superficial prestige. The house of the poorer family is in contrast much smaller, much darker and much less pleasant to live in. Catastrophe for poorer family are literally a game for richer one in a very effective crosscut.

I like choice to represent Parks as superficially nice people, it makes the point of system injustices stronger, because it shows that even when 'nice' people are on top structure is unfair. Despite the fact that they talk nicely they are superficial, snobbish and most importantly harmful to their employees. Ultimately they care more about their status than relative well-being of those "beneath" them.

There is part of the plot that concerns conflict between Kims and third group of characters, which are also working class. Movie shows their conflict futile, as co-operation between two groups would be more beneficial to them than conflict or, at least, I saw it that way. That saying this angle is maybe a bit underused, however expanding it might have been hard to reconcile with already complex plot.

What is definitely great in Parasite is its film-making in general. I already mentioned how the houses are made is important for the movie, but cinematography also emphasis that, as look in Park's home is feels much cleaner than to Kim's and even regardless of that movie has some great shots. Parasite is in part a comedy and there it mostly delivers, with good timing and smartly written dialogue, while still being well integrated into the story. Entire cast gives intense memorable performances, each one adding something to their role, which was important as I don't think characters are strong enough in the script.

All in all, I wasn't blown away by Parasite like everyone else was, but it was still very enjoyable.

PS It seems to be consensus that 2019 is one of those great years for cinema, but I have yet to be truly impressed with a movie from last year. That being said I still have quite a few holes(Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Uncut Gems, The Irishman), so maybe there is sill hope that 2019 was a masterful year.

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