Wafflez’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Would you like to open the black box with me, Madame?”
Bitterness, contempt, disgust, rage. A polite smile turns into a look of envy. A calm composure erupts into something more manic. Seething rage bubbling under ones skin. It’s like a black box, containing all these repressed emotions. Emotions change so fast in an instant, to hide their true intentions. People would do anything to survive in this cruel world, it’s a matter of flight or fight, would you lie to get your way? Do you manipulate people through meticulous planning to get the upper hand? Or do you cower, submit to the suffocating class division? Submit to the fact that people have power over you?
Bong Joon Ho creates something so devilishly cunning, so darkly humorous, a suspense that makes you grip your seats. He has blended genres, mixed them together, forming a strange beast of his own. A beast that can’t be replicated. Something that no one but him can pull off. He’s a master at his own craft. Deceiving the audience, creating an underlying sexual tension, each scene going off at comical timing, creating satires that comment on societal issues. Ranging from, Class Anxiety, Socioeconomics, the incompetence of the police, the love of his parents. He has a grip on each story. When you think he is about to cross the line, he doesn’t. That’s simply the tell tale sign that you’re in a Masters hands.
Metaphorical symbols in each image, making it more thematically deep. Unpredictable fate, whatever plans you make, are all futile. Only time can tell, if you’re going to succeed or fail. The characters obsession with exterminating bugs. Parasitic behaviours from the Kims as they slowly start to wiggle themselves, like a bug into the Park’s lavish lifestyle. Perceptions twisted to show class division.
Each character, flawed, explored. Each one brazenly selfish or unsympathetic towards others. Some naive while kind. Some obsessed with certain things. Some seething with rage underneath a calm facade. We see foxes underneath sheep’s clothing. No one is unwilling to harm another person, be it psychologically or physically. Everyone is callous in their actions. Some unpredictably violent and conniving. After all, who doesn’t desire to live lavishly? Under a big roof, luxurious gleaming surfaces. Lush greenery that surrounds your house. After all, no one wants to live in a slum.
If a film like Mother doesn’t cement Bong as an auteur, then Parasite will. He does anything to get a reaction out, be it gasps of shock, boisterous laughter, looks of anticipation even makes you reflect on societal issues. Blow after blow, one ironic contradiction after another, one metaphor being stacked upon each other, we have no choice but to admit (be it begrudgingly) that Bong has made something masterful. I doubt that another film this year would make me as astonished as Parasite.