Parasite ★★★★½

In terms of pure craft, I honestly don't know if there's a single fault anywhere in this film: even the simplest shot/reverse-shot sequence has such electrifying compositions that it feels like some kind of unfathomably bold avant-garde film (indeed, the extremes of style in bare-bones moments like these are maybe even more exciting than the bravura camera movements, which announce their artistry in a way that the anything-but-routine medium close-ups don't). The two main sets are visually compared and contrasted so well it makes me feel a bit woozy, and the way that the filmmakers accentuate the inhumane geometry of the rich people's house does as much as anything in the script to explore the gulf between the upper and lower classes not just as consumers, but as emotional beings.

The film navigates the most astonishing tonal shifts of Bong Joon-ho's career: it starts in neo-realism, moves to a dark comic caper movie, suddenly shifts into terror, and then ends in sadness, and this is all carried off with effortless organic fluidity, even when the movie actively goes out of its way to make sure we notice the seams. Still, I don't love it as it moves towards the ending; it's probably the inevitable way for this story to develop, but it also feels a bit too anarchic-for-the-hell-of-it without the compensating surrealism of Bong's other films. I can still easily see why somebody would rank this as the director's best film, but for me, I think I'm going to stick with Mother for right now, and maybe also The Host.

(Full review at Alternate Ending)

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