REVIEW: Parasite

Finally, 2019 has thrown me a bone.

Thriving in poverty, a young man leads his family towards a hopeful profit by tutoring the daughter of upper class tycoons… an initially “simple” task.

In all honesty, Parasite has been in Australian cinemas for almost two months now and it was only this week I managed to grab a screening. Reasons range between busy to just lazy, to be honest. However, I have recently taken it upon myself to start solely reviewing films that I genuinely want to see rather than just movies that are out in cinemas (I mean, have you noticed yet that I haven’t bothered seeing Gemini Man?). So, for me to go out of my way to see a little Korean film seriously means a lot – guys, I really wanted to see Parasite. I have been anticipating it for a while. And it did not disappoint.

Notably, I have been engaged with the more recent works of Bong Joon-ho over the past few years since my viewing of the film Snowpiercer. The auteur is one of the most distinctive voices in global cinema with his disturbing subject matter, sudden tonal shifts and dark comedy chops. In this outing, the filmmaker has adopted an eerie setting of class disputes within the confines of two modern families.

I would be sure to inform you that Parasite is certainly a film you want to go into blind. I saw not a single trailer before my viewing and, I believe, my experience benefitted. The film was polluted in twists and turns that produced trivial and alluring entertainment throughout. Not to mention how intelligent this film felt – from a thematic standpoint but also a writing standpoint. It wrote itself into the necessary corners in servitude of its themes. And due to all this, the film managed to be highly unpredictable from start to finish.

Earlier in the year, I saw another Korean film, Burning, that honestly is the only other film I can think of in 2019 to really help contextualise Parasite. Two buddying films exploring the divide between class systems through hideously dark and unsettling means. Set against the backdrop of South Korea, thriving below the unbalance of North Korea, both films managed to reflect the times of their release, visualising a society of unrest. Barriers breaking and outbursts of violent protest through the most sinister and malice crimes crept as a figurehead embodying both films. Although, as one centred in on the burning down of a society on the brink, the other filed a darker dissection into the parasites that eat away at the already fragile thread we live our lives on…

… how descriptive was that? Yeah, even I am surprised.

(Neon/ CJ Entertainment 2019)

Though, returning back to basics and moving out of thematic study, Parasite can best be identified as a film residing in the genre of domestic noir. What is that you may ask? Well, a domestic noir is usually a typical noir that bases itself in the confines of the home. Typical functions like suburbia and housewives play roles in servitude of the more recognisable L.A. scene or burnout detective that has come to be recognisable with the genre. Parasite upheld all the aspects of noir in its cold tone, plot twists and untrustworthy characters. However, it was the unique setting of South Korea’s suburban city streets that kept it a product of the unique genre I previously pointed towards. The film was never without its style as its beautiful cinematography captured moments varying between warm family embraces to shocking scenes of bloody drama. The tables turned almost every scene until eventually a conclusion came a-knockin’ that really proved to be eternally startling.

Joon-ho’s direction was phenomenal in this film… as it usually is. Though the cast really brought the film to life. Certainly every member of the ensemble had their time in the sun but particularly Song Kang-ho, Park So-dam and Cho Yeo-jeong were certainly the film’s highlights.

Being as though it was the winner of Palme d’Or (by a unanimous vote) at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, its easy to see why Parasite has garnered such acclaim. If it were me, I would just hand it the Best International Film Feature at the Academy Awards now. There is seriously little competition in its way.

This satirical tale was dark, and even surprisingly funny at times, but to summarise, I really have not much else to say about Parasite. I do not want to spoil it too much but, also, I genuinely feel like if I were to say more I could potentially trail off into ideas that ascend even the film… and then it wouldn’t even be a film review.

So, its a top vote from me. Certainly see this film if you want to spice up your cinema experience.

Parasite is, in fact… LOST ART


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