Parasite Review The Buff and The Blazer
At this point, even the most casual movie fans have likely heard of Parasite. Bong Joon Ho’s masterwork has received critical acclaim and recognition at many of the major awards circuits. He has become a hot name not only in Hollywood but internationally as well. Aside from the awards and notoriety which is all warranted, the fact that he punched a hole in Hollywood’s originality “problem”, is perhaps his most impressive accomplishment. The story of Parasite is one of the most original ideas to come out in the last year. The fact that it was the first foreign-language film to ever win Best Picture at the Academy Awards is a clear sign of that. To add frosting to the cinematic cake, Parasite boasts masterful direction and acting performances across the board. This underscores just how special the film is.
You’re probably wondering what Hollywood’s originality “problem” is. For the last 10-15 years, critics and film fans alike have often complained that Hollywood just isn’t releasing any original stories. Theaters today seem to be dominated by superhero films and other large franchises that spawn dozens of sequels. That’s partially true, but what people don’t realize is that studios big and small are producing more original films today than ever before. The problem is that they usually don’t profit at the box office when put up against the next big Marvel or DC film. This is what makes the success of films like Parasite so impressive.
How does one talk about a story without spoiling the story? If you’ve stuck with us this far, we’ll do our best. A fitting word to describe Parasite is UNPREDICTABLE. This is exactly where the master craft of Bong Joon Ho as a director comes in. No time is wasted setting up the characters and their circumstances. Throughout the film, you feel connected to the main cast and become completely invested in them.
Bong Joon Ho comfortably submerges the audience into the atmosphere of the film. Halfway through, you feel as though the tone and story have been firmly established. You may even begin to see a clear end to the story Bong Joon Ho has apparently sold you. Then the last third of the film begins and everything you thought you knew gets turned upside down. Hopefully, this description and our best attempt at avoiding spoilers gives you a good sense of what to expect.
While the story is the centerpiece of Parasite, the film’s actors give performances that make it impossible to look away. From the very start, we learn the intricacies of each character. Their wit, cleverness, and ingenuity all contribute to the seductive quality they have on the audience. One actor to highlight is Kang-ho Song (Kim Ki-taek). His introduction seems as if he plays more of a supporting role, but as the film progresses, his arc becomes much more nuanced. He exhibits an easy-going care-free attitude as a Father in the film. However, Kang-ho Song’s performance quickly becomes deeper and we understand the concern and pain he feels regarding his family.
Performances such as those, along with Bong Joon Ho’s direction, immerse the audience in the story and family dynamic. You feel like you’re there with them. All the character development and setup culminate in a huge payoff. Ultimately, Parasite is the most recent example of creativity and masterful artistic vision fully alive and well.
Parasite is available on disc and digital now!
Check out some of our other reviews here!