Parasite ★★★★★

A family of four adults, all unemployed, living in the basement floor of a building in the slums of Seoul, until an unexpected business opportunity appears. An old friend of Ki-taek, the family's son, approaches him with the proposition of him replacing him as the English tutor of the daughter of a wealthy family, the Parks. Ki-taek accepts the opportunity and starts working for them. He enters a completely world, a parallel world to his own - the world of the rich, where there are no worries of money and everyone is beautiful and easy-going. Slowly, he finds ways of making the Park family hire the rest of his family members - his sister, his father, and finally his mother - obviously as if they were completely unrelated. This family of the lower classes of Korean society slowly finds themselves infiltrating into this inaccessible world of the wealthy. However, as they infiltrate into this parallel world, they find themselves entangled in a bizarre secret, as tensions rise and the situation spins out of control. This is an unusual story, and it's one that is both illusive and deceitful as its main characters. Bong Joon-ho perfectly crafts a metaphor for class tensions present in modern day South Korea through a bitter dark humour and staggering thrills, creating something that is completely unpredictable, starting as one thing and ending as something completely different. In the start, the film seems like an absurdist dark comedy, easy-going and witty, making us laugh and at ease with its stark humour. However, like a frog in a pan of slowly boiling water, a slight tension starts rising, emanating from the screen, slowly tensing up our muscles, as the film slowly morphs into something completely different - something completely unforeseen. As the family of human parasites starts getting cockier and cockier, the film turns into a true thriller, and our initial easiness starts seeping away. However, Bong Joon-ho still jabs us with a dark humour, making us laugh. But, every time we laugh at one of the jabs present in his extremely intelligent screenplay, a bit of tension slowly seeps into our inner being, and that easiness we had in the beginning is slowly replaced by an uneasy tension. Slowly our muscles harden with this tension as the film progresses into a starkly more vicious and dark thriller. But, like that frog slowly boiling in the pan, we don't notice this tension - not until it's too late and we are irreversibly captured in the net of intrigue and satire crafted by Joon-ho. When we notice ourselves, we are already deep into a state of tension where every jab of dark humour done by Joon-ho no longer sparks laughter from us but instead makes the social commentary present in this story even more harrowing and powerful, in a twisted, almost sadistic way. It reaches a point where this darkly humorous thriller verges into an absolute horror, as we are overcome by a dread that we didn't even notice that was overcoming us. We are boiling with a tension that invades us without us noticing, and Joon-ho keeps alternating between jabbing us with humour all the while tensing up every one of our muscles until he leaves us suspended in the air, left with a bitter taste in our mouths, and we have no idea what has overtook us - all we know is that we have gone through a life-changing experience. While watching this film, I found myself squeezing myself into the sit all while feeling all my muscles tensing up more and more as the film progressed. Never have I experienced something quite like Parasite, where I experienced such emotional range at the same time, from horror to humour, which created a tension in me that possessed all my being. That is exactly how I felt when I watched this film - possessed, entranced, overpowered. The stunning cinematography hypnotizes us, while the masterful score playfully plays with our minds, elevating every scene, all while Bong Joon-ho overpowers us with this story about class tension through a mastery over every genre this film encompasses, through a bitingly witty and intelligent screenplay, and through a direction that floored me to the ground. Parasite is like the characters it depicts - it slowly invades us, overtaking us, until there is nothing else in our mind except it and all its brilliance. And as if it wasn't enough with these aspects, all the performances are absolutely incredible, making us deeply care and empathize with this family of outsiders trying to make it in a society that has everything set against them. In the end, can we really blame these people, these "parasites"? Through this story of twists and absurds, we are lead to look into the absurdity of class structures and all the nonsensical mechanisms that keep that structure's existence. This is an absurdist tragicomedy, but only because society itself functions so absurdly. And Bong Joon-ho conveys that message powerfully when he leaves us with a bluntly revealing ending that truly sends us into a daze completely different from the daze we have been in. Parasite is a film that cannot be predicted and outsmarted. Whenever we think we know where it is going, it goes exactly in a completely unpredicted direction, changing genres like a chameleon changes its colours, continuously morphing into something completely different. It's an exhilarating experience that we live full-bodiedly, and it's crafted with a genius-level of intelligence and a mastery over the seventh art that is still able to surprise us in every one of its turns. Parasite is most definitely one of the best films of the year - a truly unique experience with a bitingly caustic commentary that stays with us far after it has ended, requiring an arduous mental digestion - and it truly is one of the films of 2019 that you mustn't miss.

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