South Korean Director With Another Showstopping Feature

Holy. Crap. 

And no, “crap” is not the exact word I would use in this scenario. 

Have you ever walked out of a movie that’s just so good it leaves you feeling totally and wholly revitalized in mind, body and spirit? That’s precisely the kind of movie “Parasite” is. In this modern age of digital television and billion-dollar blockbusters, just when you think you’ve seen everything, this bizarre flick comes swinging out the gate with a thunderous cinematic left hook that will floor you. 

With only seven features to his name, Bong Joon-ho has quickly become a global sensation, planting himself firmly in the hearts of cinephiles all over the world. Hot on the heels of winning the Palme d’Or, the top prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival, and riding a tidal wave of intense critical acclaim, the hype over this film was through the stratosphere. So, it’s with a happy heart that I can report “Parasite” not only delivers, but it’s hands down one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Watching it made me feel like I was discovering film again for the first time. It’s original, thought-out and profoundly unique.   

“Parasite” is the story of the Kim family, a group of four who are all unemployed and doing whatever it takes to get paid. After the son, Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi) gets a job tutoring the young daughter of a wealthy family, the Kims slowly start to infiltrate their personal lives.   

And that’s all I’m going to tell you about the plot. Seriously, it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible. It may sound straightforward, but there is so much more to unpack in this warped romp.  

Joon-ho is on a whole other level. This is a master-class director who has absolute control over his medium. He’s a gourmet chef whipping up an exquisite film dish spiced with a perfect blend of dark humor, suspense and surprise. One minute you’re laughing out loud at the absurdity of the situation, the next you’re clasping onto your armrest with a white-knuckle grip and holding your breath as scenes twist and turn. Joon-ho’s mixture of tones is seamless. He handles comedy and tension better than most genre directors.  

The film’s cinematography is gorgeous. Each shot depicts a still photo quality. You can snapshot any individual frame and put it up on your wall for display.  

Like most Joon-ho films, there’s more happening here than meets the eye. The juxtaposition between the impoverished Kims and affluent Parks is clear, but it’s the subtle touches that paint a bigger picture. It’s the little things that characters do or say that emphasize the immense gulf between their social statuses. 

At its core, “Parasite” is class drama with each player adding to mounting pressure building beneath the surface. These curiously laid out elements come crashing together in a spectacular finish. The result is contemplative, disturbing, and perhaps not something you may readily agree with. 

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