Parasite ★★★★

This is so metaphorical.

Sometimes it's okay to admit that you're wrong. Or, more accurately, once in a while, a second viewing can do miracles for a movie, if you're willing to give it the chance. I won't beat around the bush, the first time I watched Parasite, the first half or so bothered me. I didn't like the way the Kims were characterized, and the slower pace felt like it was there more to simply extend the length of the feature instead of any substance being behind it. This time around, not only did those criticisms disappear, I’d even say I did a full 180. Now that I had all of the pieces, seeing how it all came together and built towards the second half, it was a helluva ride that I liked a lot. There was a moment early on that stuck with me throughout the rest of the film. As the pesticide to get rid of the stink bugs is sprayed through the window into the Kims' house, Ki-taek keeps his head down, looking at the phone, and continues to fold pizza boxes. A father undeterred by any distractions to provide for his family, no matter what.

If you've heard or read anything about Parasite from a review, the word that you've likely come across the most is "metaphor." On a second viewing, I felt like I was able to take in so much more of that metaphor, and nearly all of it felt smooth. It was a part of the world that the film takes place in. You can see Parasite as an expertly crafted family drama, which it is, or you can see it as a portrayal of the injustices and cruelty faced under class divide and general ignorance by power, which it also is. The contrast between the homes of the Kims and the Parks, how they're decorated, the use of being above ground and underground, it's a feast for the eyes, and reinforces the thematic material of the feature even when the dialogue is focused on something else. That's the mark of good writing, and of a story that was born to be represented through the medium of film. The score also continued to be a highlight, its placement here and there adding to whatever scene or moment it was featured in.

Do I now believe that Parasite is a "best film of all-time" candidate? Not really. But do I now believe that it is, as nearly everyone is saying, a great movie? I would say yes it is. (I would also say it is very likely to go up even further in rating whenever I decide a third viewing is warranted.) Its Best Picture win feels wholly earned, and I cannot say enough how happy it makes me that Bong Joon Ho is now an Oscar winner. (Can you believe this was the first time a South Korean film has so much as been nominated for Best Foreign Film? Mental.) I hope more films overseas will find as much international success as this has. Good filmmaking is good filmmaking, regardless of its place of origin, or the language that is spoken. I don't want this comment to come back to bite me in the ass, but I think we may be beyond the days of Green Book. (No offense to fans of that movie.) The world is constantly evolving, and the oppressed are getting restless. It is the time for those who were once and still are under the boot to tell their own stories and pass their truths onto those that can offer real change. If we stay as we are, tolerant of injustice and suppression so long as it isn't happening to us, a sharp, violent wake-up call is not a matter of if, but of when. #bonghive


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