Parasite ★★★★★

South Korean auteur Bong Joon-Ho has left his usual scifi haunts for something more regular - though his usual thematic preoccupations of class and inequality are stronger than ever. Parasite uses the tonal mastery Bong has quietly developed and finds it unleashed at full force with a film that is wildly funny, tense, dark, poignant, moving, thought provoking, and enraging - all coherently so, more's the astonishment.

It's hard to get into what makes the film so great without giving spoilers but suffice to say - what starts out innocently enough as a film in which a poor family take advantage of of a rich one - only a master director could lead us through the decisions each character makes in the course of the film as events unfold. Director Bong's use and awareness of space is excellent as well; the large house that is the setting for much of the film being a character unto itself and the audience is never left confused or in doubt of the geography of any scene (the set designers deserve accolades here too). Of course the cast led by frequent Bong muse Song Kang-Ho are excellent, with Kang-Ho himself selling some of the film's pivotal moments on subtle facial expressions. Despite two families in the story being from different economic backgrounds, the actors imbue each character richly never making any to be a stereotype; a crucial aspect in the film's success. The score only compliments Bong's ability to be a tonal chameleon, with dissonant but always appropriate accompaniments - which only serve to highlight when a tonal shift occurs.

Parasite is the culmination of Director Bong's filmography to this point, both thematically and technically. Director Bong has lost none of his razor sharp observations about the economic divides that pervade his home of South Korea, and indeed the world, that have only gotten worse during his career. His technical skill guides us through a narrative that any lesser film maker would stumble over. Parasite lives up to its namesake - once you've seen this film it will sit inside you, gestating, and feeding on your thoughts, and your rage. Director Bong doesn't issue a call to arms, but cannily paints us a picture of a world too familiar and all too probable. We'll be coming back to this one for years.

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