With his latest film Parasite, South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho puts on a masterclass of storytelling. After winning the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, all eyes were on Joon-Ho, so the necessity of this hitting the mark was crucial. And it’s definitely fair to say that he not only reaches his mark with this film, but surpasses it as much as humanly possible. Simply put, Parasite is a masterclass in filmmaking. Whether it be the insanely sharp screenplay or the tight direction and imagery that tells a story all on its own, everything one could love about cinema is here and on full display.
If this film is anything, it’s unpredictable. Without divulging information, Parasite will constantly pull the rug out from even the most astute audience members; and this is where its brilliance resides. Its ability to balance so many different tones and themes proves just how in control Joon-Ho is of his craft. This film is incredibly funny, deeply heartbreaking, and brutally honest, yet it never loses its footing. And for a film that tackles as many topics as Parasite does, it’s a miracle that it doesn’t feel bloated.
At the forefront of the film, Joon-Ho chooses class relations as his key observation. It’s an age old discussion, yet when handled properly, always seems to be incredibly relevant considering society and its outlook on the subject. But as powerfully as this topic is portrayed, it’s the familial connection that truly lets this film soar. The dynamic this family has is so incredibly authentic, it feels as if they’ve been living together their whole lives. It’s due to the nuances among them, whether it be father to son, brother to sister, or husband to wife. They’re all individuals that feel multi-dimensional, and when brought together, they are seemingly unstoppable.
And what makes this film even more complex is just how entertaining it is, even when it shouldn’t be. Without revealing anything, make no mistake that the family Joon-Ho has crafted are not the most morally sound humans. Yes, their actions may be a byproduct of their situation, but it’s definitely not justified the lengths they go to to ensure survival. It’s on this fine line that the title Parasite feels perfect for the film. It’s eerily reminiscent of Mr. Smith’s observations of humans being a virus from The Matrix, albeit in a much more sympathetic and emotional matter.
With regards to emotion, this film can certainly pack a punch. Yet another of the many themes to receive fantastic treatment is that of internalizing emotion, and the drive that can come with it. The lengths some will go to carry on varies from person to person, but it always stems from a key moment in life. And those key moments shown are utterly distressing. Life has many ups and downs, and Parasite certainly has its fair share of both. Overall, this is a film that truly feels as if it is within a lane of its own. Certainly not conforming to one particular genre, this oozes with perfection in every regard, and will surely be remembered when the Oscars come around.
Neon is releasing Parasite in select theaters on October 11th, 2019.