Parasite ★★★★½

Starting off with a very minor nitpick of why this hovers just below Memories of Murder in term of the director's all-timer for me. Parasite's conceptual ambition is dazzling, darkly delicious, and a pure adrenaline rush, but it may also overwhelm the film as a whole and its characters just a tiny bit. Bong's shifting of our sympathy and allegiance between the haves and have-nots is perfectly calibrated, but only 'Madame' and 'Mr. Kim' emerge as full, rich characters, mostly because of their performances. And as satisfying as many twists and turns are, he may have overdosed on loading those Chekhov's guns a bit for my liking, even if the playful tone goes a long away in alleviating them.

Otherwise? An instant class satire classic, featuring Bong's best, most precise direction, especially the navigation and composition of that modernist dream house, both around each corner that helps block the privileged's view from any vicious struggle (until it can't be contained or kept from them anymore), and up high and down below; a scene revolving around a spacious table and a sofa is both nail-biting and very scathing. He also expertly switches between tones, genres, and levels of barbed observations, on both sides of the money line.

It's striking to me how this scenario feels so uniquely Asian on class (in)difference. In recent months of Thai junta leader being officially elected to more years of power, due in large part to indifference from our upper-middles and elites, sparking an all-time high in class anger and resentment (and memes), the portrayal of "nice"-mannered but extremely oblivious and status-keeping family here is going to hit home hard. A pouring rainstorm can divide people of different stratums based on how hard they are affected (or not at all), but the most alienating class gap to overcome will be the lack of curiosity, that bleeds over into the lack of empathy, for those not having the privilege to be couched from it.

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