Parasite

Parasite ★★★★★

"This is so metaphorical!"

Believe the hype. Bonghive, bring the noise.

Bong Joon-ho's Parasite, for many the most anticipated film of the year following its Palme d'or win at Cannes and subsequent raucous and ravenous reviews at festival after festival, is finally rolling out to U.S. in a slow deliberate fashion. Though I live two hours from a theatre that is showing it today, that drive is but a stone's throw away in my mind. I wasn't going to wait any longer to see this movie. And neither should you. Go to a movie theatre to see this masterpiece and support groundbreaking cinema.

You don't want to know much about the plot. So let's keep it short. The Kim family have fallen on hard times. Father Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) is unemployed and struggles to find work to support his wife Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin), daughter Ki-jeong (Park So-dam), and son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik). They have an infested basement apartment, steal wi-fi when they can, and make it by the skin of their teeth. One day, Ki-woo gets a break, and earns a shot at a tutoring position for the daughter of the ultra-wealthy Park family. He schemes his way into the job teaching English to 16-year-old Da-hye (Jung Ji-so), and then realizes, maybe it's possible for his family to get a break too…

That's it, that's all you get, about the first 20 minutes of the movie. I will make you see this if I have to drive you there myself. Who lives within two hours of Delaware? (And is preferably female and single. Call me.)

Parasite at first is all about the hustle. You may have your side gigs, but the Kim family has to hustle every moment of every day. But when you are on the bottom, you do what you gotta do. And Bong Joon-ho crafts a film here -- assisted by co-screenwriter Han Jin-won -- that is so intricate, so layered, so full of metaphors as Ki-woo said himself in a very meta moment… that you will be pulled in to an increasingly urgent and timely story about class, privilege, and social mobility. Here, you'll see how the other half lives, and how the other other half feeds on their souls.

Angles of dark comedy and thrills are nothing new to master filmmaker Bong, but it is turned up to 11 in Parasite. While at times lulling you into just a clever tale of brinksmanship and hardscrabble fortune -- with his signature brilliant humour and twists -- soon there's one nerve-wracking crescendo after another in what was an hour-long spiral of cascading emotion and mania. This is a dazzling, powerful, and gripping work that is unlike anything I have seen in a long long time.

Not only does Bong Joon-ho obliterate genres yet again, he has eviscerated the distinction of crowd-pleasing dramatic thrills and arthouse intelligent "cinema." This is the magnum opus of his untouchable career. It is a surefire hit. And it is unquestionably the best film of the year.

Added to The Best Narrative Films of 2019.
Added to 2020 Independent Spirit Awards nominees, ranked.
Added to 2020 Academy Awards nominees, ranked.
Added to Bong Joon-ho ranked.
Added to My Subjective List of the Best Narrative Films.
Added to My Subjective List of the Best Films from Every Year I've Seen Them.

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