Bong Joon Ho
Bong Joon Ho
8 November 2019 (USA)
I am remarkably stingy with my 10/10 ratings. I’ll be the first person to acknowledge this. Of the roughly 2600 titles I’ve rated on here, only 34 have a 10.
Parasite is one of them. If this isn’t a masterpiece, then I don’t know what is.I’m going to keep it vague on the plot-front, because I didn’t know anything about it going in, and was really excited to see it progress and unfold in satisfying, unexpected ways.What I will say is that this film, more than just about any other I’ve seen, put me through so many different emotional states during its 132-minute runtime, and did so without ever feeling muddled or tonally inconsistent. Parts of this movie were hilarious. Parts were heartbreaking. Other parts were insanely suspenseful (I’m honestly not sure if I’ve felt this close to the edge of my seat since the final season of Breaking Bad, way back in 2013).And it does all this while being perfectly paced, beautifully directed, and amazingly acted from every single member of its cast. All the characters are understandable and sympathetic to some degree; the amount of conflict, drama and tension derived from a narrative with no clear heroes and villains is staggering. You come to care for just about all of them.I’m stumped to come up with any flaws for this movie. And sure, I’ve seen many movies that are hard to fault, but it’s rare that a movie appeals to me on a gut level and excites me to this degree while also being so close to technically perfect. It’s extremely entertaining, thoroughly moving in so many different ways, and as icing on the cake there’s a ton of social commentary and some heavy themes to chew on once the movie’s over (and this one’s not going to leave my head for a while, I can tell).Catch this one when you can and believe the hype. Joon-Ho Bong has made many great films (and so far no bad one’s), but this even manages to stand head and shoulders above all the others.When it comes time to consider what the best film of the 2010s was, this one will surely be up there.
The Kims – mother and father Chung-sook and Ki-taek, and their young adult offspring, son Ki-woo and daughter Ki-jung – are a poor family living in a shabby and cramped half basement apartment in a busy lower working class commercial district of Seoul. Without even knowing it, they, especially Mr. and Mrs. Kim, literally smell of poverty. Often as a collective, they perpetrate minor scams to get by, and even when they have jobs, they do the minimum work required. Ki-woo is the one who has dreams of getting out of poverty by one day going to university. Despite not having that university education, Ki-woo is chosen by his university student friend Min, who is leaving to go to school, to take over his tutoring job to Park Da-hye, who Min plans to date once he returns to Seoul and she herself is in university. The Parks are a wealthy family who for four years have lived in their modernistic house designed by and the former residence of famed architect Namgoong. While Mr. and Mrs. Park are all about status, Mrs. Park has a flighty, simpleminded mentality and temperament, which Min tells Ki-woo to feel comfortable in lying to her about his education to get the job. In getting the job, Ki-woo further learns that Mrs. Park is looking for an art therapist for the Parks’ adolescent son, Da-song, Ki-woo quickly recommending his professional art therapist friend “Jessica”, really Ki-jung who he knows can pull off the scam in being the easiest liar of the four Kims. In Ki-woo also falling for Da-hye, he begins to envision himself in that house, and thus the Kims as a collective start a plan for all the Kims, like Ki-jung using assumed names, to replace existing servants in the Parks’ employ in orchestrating reasons for them to be fired. The most difficult to get rid of may be Moon-gwang, the Parks’ housekeeper who literally came with the house – she Namgoong’s housekeeper when he lived there – and thus knows all the little nooks and crannies of it better than the Parks themselves. The question then becomes how far the Kims can take this scam in their quest to become their version of the Parks.
Bong Joon Ho