There are few films that can make me both laugh and feel disturbed within the span of two hours. With “Parasite,” this task was seamless. Director Bong Joon-ho captures the wealth gap in South Korean society through a thorough and honest lens.
“Parasite” follows an impoverished South Korean family who finds opportunity when their son Kim Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi) is hired as an English tutor for the daughter of the wealthy Park family. Other members of the family soon take positions within the Park household through questionable methods.
Right from the start, “Parasite” pulls you in with gorgeous cinematography and well-composed shots that highlight the claustrophobic conditions the Kim family must endure. Along with the fantastic score from Jeong Jae-il, there is tension in almost every scene.
The plot takes so many twists and turns, it makes Twister seem like a simple game. These changes in the story make an already interesting plot into an Oscar-worthy film. It is no wonder “Parasite” won the unanimous vote for Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It was also the first South Korean film to win the award.
While “Parasite” reminds me of last year’s Palme d’Or winner “Shoplifters” in terms of a family struggling to survive, it stands out by being a satire on wealthy families and how oblivious they are about the world. Unlike most satires, “Parasite” has grounded characters that act like regular people and whose motives seem justified, even if they are questionable.
Even after watching the film, I am questioning whether or not I felt sympathy for the main characters. It may take several watches before I can comprehend everything. This is a film that presents hard questions with even harder answers, but that does not mean the film is a chore to watch.
Bong’s use of comedy and drama are blended nicely and used at appropriate moments. There are also elements of action at points but don’t expect it to be “Transformers.” A collage of genres is the best way to describe “Parasite.”
There is no doubt in my mind that “Parasite” is one of the best films of the year. It has a fantastic cast along with a dynamic story that will have you question everything you know about storytelling. Bong’s direction is focused and rivals few as director of the year. The pacing may slightly drag at points, but it never hinders the quality of the film.
It’s almost guaranteed that “Parasite” will receive several Oscar nominations and possibly a couple of wins, given the love it has received from both critics and audience members. According to IndieWire, the film sold out its opening weekend in New York City.
If that does not say “Parasite” is a must see, I do not know what does. All I can say is that the expectations I had for this movie were beyond what I could have imagined. This is one of the few times I can truly call a film a masterpiece.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of @parasitemovie.
Ian Ward is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org