Parasite ★★★

The most significant takeaway from this for me is the unsettling sense that the cinematic prophecies about violent uprisings of the Poor against the Wealthy and Prejudiced are accumulating at an alarming rate — to the point that I feel I will live to see apocalyptic clashes and revolutions at a scale I haven't seen before.

But that's not what I'm here to write about. If I'm to write much about Parasite, I'm going to have to spoil things, because I feel that much of what this film is about was done better by another movie released earlier this year. (I won't say which, or I'd be risking a revelation of the film's Big Twist — which was clever.) And as stories of of families of co-conspirators who scheme their way through poverty go, I was moved much more powerfully by Shoplifters.

This has a certain Raising Arizona zaniness to it, as its sympathetic con artists improvise their way toward a livable income. I can see audiences enjoying it for its comedy of errors — until it isn't one anymore. The performances are pitched high, as they are in all Bong movies. And there are some clever twists. But the contrivances and coincidences pile up fast, spoiling my suspension of disbelief quickly. I couldn't take seriously the last 30 minutes, which often wants to be taken seriously — at least insofar as this is a film about Important Social Issues and the contempt that the rich have for the poor.

I haven't been so underwhelmed by a Palme d'Or winner in a long time.

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