I first discovered director Bong Joon-Ho when I watched his futuristic sci fi adventure “Snowpiercer.” I loved that film despite how absurd the set up was. Absurdity, though, is a credit to his craft. That’s why his latest film “Parasite” is a hugely successful interpretation of class warfare within South Korea. It might all appear drastically unlikely. Yet, it’s all absolutely possible when you reflect on the film after you’ve seen it.
“Parasite” begins almost like a farce and ends in deep, realistic horror that you’d never expect, even after you surpass the films midway surprise.
It’s best I leave much of the film’s details out. The less you know the better. I knew nothing at all about the film beyond the numerous accolades it has received. I was better off for it.
Joon-Ho’s film makes its point quickly that there is always someone better off than us and always someone worse off. (This was a theme carried over from “Snowpiercer.”). A poor family living off scrap money for folding pizza boxes while living in a cramped, bug ridden basement is still better off than the drunk who pisses on the street, outside their window. Just as an upper class family with all the best things in life are better off than them.
It’s only when this poor family find opportunity to dupe their way into this wealthy home through jobs they are hired for that we eventually see how lighthearted material, compliments of Joon-Ho and his writing collaborator, Jin Wan Han, can convincingly escalate into class warfare politics that even their characters ever hardly acknowledge, or are aware of. Is the wealthy matriarch really aware where her family chauffeur stems from or where he lives? The off putting scent of someone’s presence can quickly turn a tide or an impression.
I might sound vague, but I have no choice. It would be a betrayal to the imagination of the best film of 2019 if I spelled the film out for you.
Simply know that I truly appreciate the symbolic research “Parasite” presents as it makes note of a Korean child’s fascination with Native Americans, and how their plight parallels the story. Even that drunk taking a piss on someone else’s territory. Even the gift of a stone sculpture told me how one can be crushed or weighted down by his own country.
“Parasite” begins as one movie and ends as maybe five other different movies. It’s a farce. It’s wry and conveniently ironic; maybe silly at one point. It’s suspenseful and surprising. It’s also shockingly horrific.
I recently declared Clint Eastwood’s film “Richard Jewell” the best film of year. I stand corrected.
“Parasite” is the best film of the year.