Parasite ★★★★★

Director Bong Joon Ho has made a diverse set of films from the true police procedural saga "Memories of Murder" to the sci-fi premise of people smooshed in on a futuristic train after the world freezes over in "Snowpiercer," and in-between his most subtle and compelling "Mother" about an elder woman who will do anything to prove her son is innocent of a crime, driving forward on her quest until it breaks her sanity. I've had my digest of healthy admiration but I had not yet loved a single one by Joon Ho, all tainted by a third act gratuitous complication or an intrinsic detail that's meted out too vague or choice of visuals not cogent enough when some kind of virtuosity is most needed.

Parasite risks much credibility, but it's the first by Joon Ho where I was absolutely rapt with every move. In the story of a family from the lower depths who assume occupational roles on behalf of a rich family by conniving their way in, I found myself heartily laughing at things before they happened because I was so giddy in anticipation of wanting to see the Ki-taek family get what they want.

Here is a film that goes from class warfare satire, to comedy, to slapstick comedy, to bloody slapstick comedy, to sudden horror, to finally tearjerker; it's a film that keeps reinventing itself as it goes along, yet finds the right key to manage every character and exude every action as crucial part of its tightly knit class envy and covetousness design. What happens to every last character in Parasite is pitch-perfect in its inevitability.

If such class warfare message mongering has been said before, then it has virtually never been as said as potently and entertainingly as it does here. It all hums along even when it skates to the edge of excessiveness.

With Kang-ho Song, Hyae-jin Jang, Woo-shik Choi, and So-dam Park as the Ki-taek family; in addition, Sun-Kyun Lee, Ji-so Jung, Hyun-jun Jung, and Yeo-jeong Jo as the Park family with Yeo-jeong perhaps giving my favorite performance as the privileged and finicky wife whose defect is gullibility; then finally, Jeong-eun Lee has to be acknowledged for one of the film's stellar performances as a former housekeeper who refuses to go away.

My first 5-star film off the 2019 roster.

Block or Report

sean_chavel liked these reviews