Parasite ★★★★★

"You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan. No plan at all. You know why? Because life cannot be planned."

As a young child, I would often look at massive estates that passed us by as I sat in the backseat of my parents' car during our leisurely drives and wonder what it would take to end up living in such fenced-in opulence. Since then, I still find myself taking the odd daydream stroll in these extravagant lifestyles. There's one difference though: I now see what the true cost of such a life is. Beyond the obvious dollar value, I've come to recognize that, especially nowadays, wealth (unless you're born into it and, often regardless or even because of it) comes with an insidious morally-compromising toll.

With Parasite, Joon Ho Bong manages to turn the rose-colored wishes of my childhood into a deeply affecting nightmare that acknowledges the mature realization I came to with a steady and methodical hand. Through his eyes, this classist parable bursts with ingenuity and intrigue. What results is an unrelentingly transfixing yarn that stands above the director's already outstanding oeuvre.

Somehow even more so than with Bong's other films, this is a richly (forgive the pun) crafted tale that delivers outstanding performances across the board. It's a testament to these actors and to Bong and Jin Won Han's writing that what could, in lesser hands, be the product of convenient contrivance instead becomes the resplendent allegory that it is.

Precious few films have commanded my attention the way that Parasite did. Its endlessly amusing condemnations and pointed social skewering had me caught in a trance as I watched schemes spill into contained chaos. Even now after having let my thoughts dwell on it, I can't quite categorize it because it's a thoroughly chimeric film that shrewdly plays with genres as well as it does with your expectations. It's the rare case of a film that achieves an emotional equilibrium worthy of its premise.

Parasite is a true masterpiece and easily Joon Ho Bong's best film. For my money, it's the best film of 2019 so far and almost certainly an end of year, top five feature. Whatever you do, do not miss it.

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