Directed by Bong Joon-ho
Starring Kang-ho Song, Yeo-jeong Jo, Woo-sik Choi and So-dam Park
By Tim Basaraba
Have you ever went to see a film without knowing anything about it, other than the title? That’s what I did with Parasite, and it turned out to be the perfect approach.
Yes, this 2019 South Korean comedy/thriller won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and it’s a “must see” critical darling, but even more than that, Parasite is a film that, with the right lack of preparation, could change your life. So I will try not to give too much away.
What I can say is that this Bong Joon-ho film (Memories of Murder, The Host, Snowpiercer) is both the best comedy and the best thriller of 2019. As the story steadily unfolded, I attempted to predict every new plot twist, expecting the usual trope or turn of events to play out. But my predictions consistently fell flat. In a world dominated by predictable and formulaic plots, this unpredictability felt GREAT. It created a sense of joy and wonderment I haven’t experienced from a film in quite some time.
The cast is amazing, with frequent Joon-ho contributor Kang-ho Song leading the charge in what is the performance of a lifetime… with facial expressions that tell us a story within the story.
Not as heavy-handed with the social commentary as Joon-ho’s previous films, Parasite suggests deep-seated issues of class and class inequality under the guise of comedy and thrills. As humans, we’re driven to achieve more and more, but the reality is that we are defined by who we choose to spend time with and how we interact with them. Parasite shows that despite our station in life – rich or poor, powerful or meek – we can still live a worthwhile life. In the end, the movie leaves us with a deeper understanding of what it is to be human.
If you want your life changed, see Parasite now and forget you’ve read this or any other review. If you want your life to remain stagnant and dull, please, by all means, avoid this near perfect film.
If the Joker was an A+ (which it was… you can read my review here) then Parasite was also an A+. Both tapped into the zeitgeist.