Hungkat’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Parasite" has once again wormed its way under my skin and clawed into every part of me with its sharp teeth leeching and sucking every last drop of blood. We follow the Kims, an impoverished family bred on soot, dirt and acrid subterranean odor as they live in a dingy dilapidated semi-basement apartment where the sunlight only manages to leak in through their tiny window placed near the ceiling. One day, when the opportunity comes knocking at their door – as their eldest son, Ki-woo lands a tutoring gig for the teenage daughter of the Park family, cloistered in an ultra-modern mansion situated in the affluent, upper side of town – the Kim family seize it with a deliciously devious scheme. Soon after a symbiotic relationship has been established between the two families, an unexpected chain of events occurs, which threatens to disturb the Kims’ newfound comfort.
From there onwards, Parasite unfolds like a magic trick with Bong engineering his trademark tonal shifts, causing multiple cogs to spin so quickly and feverishly that they induce whiplash while allowing his comedic switchblades to cut and burrow deep into your skin, tearing up every parcel of your flesh. Bong’s themes of classism, social hierarchy wrought by crimson-soaked outbursts with tensions simmering beneath the surface between the haves and have-nots. "Parasite" is a tactile picture bookend by moments of stillness, only to let the immaculate seams rip open in the crescendo of soul-crushing savagery and infinite melancholy, aided by Jung Jae-il magnificent operatic score. Just imagine a sweet red strawberry with a needle inserted inside. It is a freaky machine of wonder that alternates between tragic and comic, farce and tantalizing pain so effortlessly throughout the entire labyrinth of deceits that will make you stagger out of the cinema, aching with your head inundated with thoughts and your heart shattered like shards of broken glasses. It was the sense of helplessness that got ahold of me. The desperate desires of the indigent to keep their dream alive of one day becoming rich, without them realizing their chance of attaining this dream is equivalent to nil.
"Parasite" is a comedy without a clown, a tragedy without a villain. If the Parks are not bad people, then the Kims are neither good nor bad. They are resourceful and clever people who are merely trying to prevail over their poorness, with both skills and diligence they provide the Parks their ‘indispensable” services. They do not steal from the rich but instead get paid for their work. Without folks like the Kims, the Parks wouldn’t be able to live with this kind of luxury comfort. Therefore, sometimes we wonder who the parasite is and who the host is. Mr. Park often comments on the foul smells coming from Mr. Kim, yet his hurtful statements are unintentional. Simply because the truth is cruel in itself. Fairness is out of the equation just like how it is impossible to hide the world’s ugliness away when life is already full of ugliness. Bong Joon Ho’s delivered a no holds barred game of social class’s battle royale where there are no rules nor tactics whatsoever and impartiality amounts to zilch with people being driven by their unwavering resolve to escape destitution. Foul play is necessary for the sake of safety and hence, that does not make them evil. What is to blame is their fate and the game’s rigged systematic design. As Parasite posits, there are no winners, only losers. The stairs, the fresh peach skin, the sirloin chops, the water flooding from top to bottom, the above and below, the green lush of grass juxtaposed with the scarlet tint of blood, every single image is sensuously put together with a great deal of care and attention. Simple yet effective. The sun-drenched front lawn, along with the bright rays that beam directly at the oversized pane, instilling an image of pecuniary hope inside each of us and this said hope almost makes everything crueler in retrospect. How the Parks’ house looks so glorious from afar, but when you look closely, the roaches are scampering on the floor.
So long…A Masterpiece