Parasite ★★★★

Bong Joon-Ho once again returns to the outrage of society as he tells the story of an opportune lower-class family interweaving themselves within the domesticated space of a wealthier counterpart, contrasting their socioeconomic parallels in this darkly comedic tale.

What initially feels like moments of humorous deviousness from this lower-class family, eventually morphs itself into territories of rage, confrontation, and social injustice. It isn’t afraid to reveal the darkness that potentially lurks within the human spirit, a quality often found in Bong’s work, and how fragile that barrier ultimately is.

This atmosphere of darkness and societal distinction are highlighted through the various settings that its story navigates, treading in spaces like basements, gutters, and tunnels. The camerawork is showcased to be precise in its execution as it vigilantly tracks its characters through various settings and spaces, allowing his lavishly built set to flourish in the camera’s kinetic dance across hallways and vast rooms.

Artificiality and illegitimacy are also placed under question, with our protagonists lie and cheat their way into success while ensuring a grey area is relatively maintained that validates our desire to see them thrive with their wilful spirit. This makes Parasite quite a complex and contemplative tale despite the emphasis on the distasteful attributes of the human condition. Bong puts all of these resonating themes in a narrative casing that stimulates our thoughts but also intends and manages to entertain his audience.

Parasite finds itself coming to a conclusion that is bittersweet, a profound effect that left me in a complete surprise despite already knowing Bong’s tendency to lean towards such directions. As I sat through it, elements of Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low began to reveal themselves in the social commentary it shares towards Korea, however, never for a moment did it feel like I was watching something being directly replicated from another auteur. What we are served here is pure-bred Bong, a cinematic vision so distinct that one could probably feel it being so within the first couple of minutes.

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