George Clark’s review published on Letterboxd:
2019 Releases Ranked-HERE
Parasite is a 2019 South Korean black comedy thriller directed by Bong Joon-ho and stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Jang Hye-jin, and Lee Jung-eun. The story follows the members of a poor family who scheme to become employed by a wealthy family by infiltrating their household and posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals. Parasite won an incredible 4 academy awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Foreign Language Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.
What have you been doing if you haven't seen this film already? Living under a log? Bong Joon-ho's Parasite (기생충) is a true masterpiece of filmmaking and the perfect way to end the decade. The films take on class division by juxtaposing the lives of the wealthy Park family and the sly Kim family is truly incredible. Like many of Bong Joon-ho's recent work, he criticises the social class divide that's rampant in modern day South Korea. I think what makes this film stand out from many anti-capitalist films, besides how well-made it is, is how it explores the social system. Usually, when films condemn capitalism, they do it by showcasing capitalists as cartoonish evil and killing the lower classes but not really saying much about what the problem with the existence of capitalism is. Yet, that's what Parasite does best. Capitalism, as shown in this film, creates indifferences between classes, which makes the rich unaware of the poor's problems and keep benefiting from harming the poor. It also alienates and makes them hard to relate to them, only seeing them as these people who don't fit in to their lives, as parasites. Capitalism is what creates greed in people. It is what keeps a few happy but keep the vast majority of the poor miserable and that's showcased brilliantly with the rain scene. The poor suffer massively with the flooding and loss of many of their belongings from it while the rich are lucky and experience seeing the rain as a pleasant atheistic. We can see how the wife is just happy with it while being unaware how much damage did it caused for so many people that are less fortunate than them.
There is no such thing as the perfect movie but goddamn, Parasite comes close to it. The film is so much more than just a stance on capitalism, it's an utter masterpiece. Unlike the rest of the world, the UK didn't get to see this till early 2020 and what a way to kick start a (very disastrous) year. Undeniably Parasite holds some of the best cinematography ever put to film. It's truly gorgeous to watch with each scene being a thing of pure beauty. On top of this, the storyline is fantastic. The Park’s lavish lifestyle and excessive wealth give them a sly ignorance and an understated snobbery that makes them unaware and removed from the struggles of the lower class. Their total obliviousness to the scam being played on them is where much of the humour in Parasite stems from but exists in the narrative as a whole lot more than just the driving force for laughs. It exists to create a film based in reality. A film that, despite its outlandish ideas, seems all to real to the viewer.
Now, although I watched the Black and White version this time around, the original has a colour scheme that looks phenomenal. However, upon this viewing it was the black and white version, the way it looked really stood out to me. Parasite is a film that honestly works wonders in B&W and looked stunning throughout and thanks to Amazon Prime, it's a version everyone should experience.
"Dad, today I made a plan, a fundamental plan. I'm going to earn money, a lot of it. University, a career, marriage, those are all fine, but first I'll earn money. When I have money, I'll buy the house. On the day we move in, Mom and I will be in the yard. Because the sunshine is so nice there. All you'll need to do is walk up the stairs. Take care until then. So long." -Kim Ki-woo.
Ultimately Bong Joon-ho's satirical black comedy thriller is an incredibly well-crafted film that has a dim view of contemporary society crafted by its fantastic storyline. Parasite begins in exhilaration and ends in devastation. The triumph of the movie is that it fully lives and breathes at every moment and captures the audiences attention miraculously. The film captures every aspect with perfection. The acting is pure excellence, the cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful and Bong's direction is as masterful as always. When it comes time to consider what the best film of the 2010s was, this one will surely be up there alongside some of the best films to have ever be released. Everything from the calm composed nature of the first half to the shocking twists of the second makes it undeniably clear, Parasite is a true masterpiece of filmmaking and one everyone should experience multiple times.
What's your opinion on Parasite?