“Parasite” is directed by Bong Joon Ho (Memories of a Murder, Snowpiercer) and stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, and Park So-dam in a film about a poor Korean family who lives underground in an unpleasant environment. They do what they can to get by and stick together, but they’re struggling nevertheless. Eventually, one member of the family, specifically Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) is hired by a rich family to be an English tutor for their daughter. As Ki-woo gets to work, he later gets to know the family’s son (and his lackluster ability to create art) and suggests hiring a “professional” to help him out. This leads to a chain of events where the entire family gets employed by this rich household.
I have a heard a few things about “Parasite” before going into it. And by a few things I mean a few positive, amazing, spectacular things. The biggest notion I came across however was that the film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, one of the more famous film festivals we have today. There is a good chance that if your film gets this award, you are a god with magical and mystical powers that has been brought from the Heavens to shower everyone with wondrous joy. I did not know when I was ultimately going to see “Parasite,” but when I did, to say I had any doubts of quality would be a dirty rotten lie.
As for the final product, I must say it here. I must say it now. “Parasite” is one of the best movies of the year. This is a sign that awards season is starting to get into full swing. I saw “Joker” earlier this month, and that may have been the official kickoff for awards season for me. It came out at the beginning of October, it’s gritty, and overall well produced. In fact, when I walked out of “Joker” alongside my dad who I invited to watch the movie, I said something to him along the lines of this:
“That was probably the most happy go lucky movie I have seen all year.”
Of course, if you have any knowledge about “Joker,” you’d know I was clearly, well, joking. Having seen “Parasite,” I have to say that this film makes “Joker” look like “Spongebob SquarePants.” I walked out of “Joker” feeling like I just got a shot to cure a rare illness. For those of you who don’t know me, needles are up there with fire alarms and other loud sounds as one of my all-time greatest fears. “Parasite” made me feel like I walked out of the theater getting an injection in my eye. I mean, HOLY S*IT. This! Movie! IIIIISSS! Something else!
I went into this movie fairly blind, and for those of you who have not checked this movie out yet, I recommend you do the same, but as for my experience, I went into this movie, discovered what it was about, and therefore I set my expectations of where this film was going to go. I HAD NO IDEA IT WOULD GO WHEREVER THE F*CK IT WENT! Where the f*ck did it go? I am not gonna say, you all need to find out on your own because this movie truly is worth your time and money. Don’t pirate it, don’t wait until it is out on Blu-ray, just go see it now. Why? Cause I said so! I knew this movie was going to be good, but as I watched the film, I was truly trying to see if it was worth the hype. Because it was seemingly simple, straightforward, and came off as if it was going to follow a pattern I formulated in my head. Nope! It brought a subversion to my expectations that kind of almost left me speechless! And you know what? Without going into detail about what exactly brought a subversion to my expectations, I want to give this movie credit for it, because it feels like it almost reaches a level of “what the f*ck?” to the point where it almost feels difficult to process or too beyond the imagination to buy into. But somehow, “Parasite” makes it work.
Although speaking of that, this does bring me to my one small complaint about the film, and it is a small one, I still want to bow down to Bong Joon Ho and everyone else who worked on this film because this is a product for the ages. But yeah, I gotta do what I gotta do. There is a point or two in this film where I am watching everything go down and think to myself that a lot of what is happening is incredibly convenient. Now I will point out, this blog is being written by someone from the United States, this is a Korean film, and I have not been exposed to all of what Korea has to offer. I do not know all of their traditions or customs, even though I have a knowledge about a few things related to Korea here and there. But one member of the rich family in the film mentions she likes having a chain of people helping her that comes from someone she knows personally. It just feels a little too convenient for the plot, but it DOES NOT take much of anything away from how truly spectacular of a job everyone has done while making this film.
I also think the film does a really good job at displaying the background differences between the the two families. It was ultimately fascinating to see the poor Kim family try to become a centerpiece of the rich Park family. I will admit, I did sort of question whether or not the Kims deserved to do everything they have tried to do, even though they are significantly unwealthy, but it still brought my personal attention to the screen.
One last thing before I get to the final verdict. Overall, I love the performances in “Parasite.” I do not think there is one bad performance of the bunch that are provided. Cho Yeo-jeong does an incredible job as Mrs. Park. Lee Jung-eun plays a housekeeper who delivers a top notch performance. And I’ll even give credit to a particular child actor, Jung Hyun-joon, who plays a young boy named Da-song. He’s hyperactive, uppity, and brings a life to this “Parasite” party. That statement almost makes no sense, but who cares? I’m leaving it in!
In the end, “Parasite” is f*cking god level material. If you are one of those people who actively skips out on foreign films or films that are not primarily in the English language, shame. You are missing out on one of the best films I have seen in recent memory. It has a minor flaw that is present throughout the film, but the unbelievable amount of positives that I can come up with almost combine to flush said flaw down the toilet. The technical aspects: Cinematography, lighting, and editing are all on point. The acting is superb! I am an aspiring filmmaker, but I am beginning to wonder if I’ll be able to make a film as excellent as this. With that being said, I’m going to give “Parasite” a 9/10. This film is almost perfect. Maybe on my second viewing I’ll be a little more open to the conveniences of the film, but regardless, everyone involved with “Parasite” should be proud of themselves for making something truly special.
Thanks for reading this review! Just want to let everyone know that I have a couple more reviews coming up including ones for “The Lighthouse” and “Last Christmas.” For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I have done reviews for comic cons in the past. I will be going to Rhode Island Comic Con this weekend, but I am not sure if I will be doing a recap on it because I haven’t done one for another con I went to yet. In fact, part of me wants to make a transition on my con-based material to YouTube. I did that for my most recent con, Terrificon 2019, so you may see a post for that, maybe when I am out of ideas. Or… probably never. We’ll see. But if you want to see more content from Scene Before, remember to follow with an email to get notifications in your inbox or with a WordPress account to get alerts while also being able to like and comment on posts! While we are at it, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Parasite?” What did you think about it? Or, and this question is specifically for U.S. audiences, did you see a non-American made film that came out this year? Which one did you see? What are your thoughts? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!