Bong Joon Ho has crafted a near immaculate film that is exquisitely shot, very well acted and boasts a story that is not only incredibly unpredictable, but also one of the most universal that’s ever been put to screen. It follows a lower-class family, the Kims, who become servants to an upper-class family, the Parks, and things get out of control when they’re caught in a web of lies and deception.
It’s been a while since I saw a film with a story that managed to shock and surprise me to this extent, the entire way through, to the very last shot… until Parasite. I didn’t have the slightest clue where this story would go. Through the entire first, second and third act everything that happened was a complete shock, making for one of the most engaging and thrilling stories of 2019. It’s a story with multiple layers that continue to unravel the more you pay attention, revealing more layers that only reveal more layers. The twists and turns around every corner left me in awe at the truly astounding writing from Bong Joon Ho, and then you get to the final act where it goes places you’d have never imagined.
Not only are there countless thrills and unexpected moments spread throughout the story, it’s also a journey with a lot of social commentary and a higher meaning embedded in the core of what this film is. The metaphorical and quite literal statements made throughout the film fit organically with what is happening on the screen, so none of what the film is trying to say feels out of place or forced. Every element of this story is immaculate. There’s a reason this film won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay; there is not a single hole you could poke in this story, even if you tried. It’s an astounding blend of crime, drama, thrills, black comedy and social commentary, all tightly woven into this masterpiece of filmmaking.
Bong Joon Ho’s directing is what ties everything in this film together to form a tightly-knit final product where absolutely everything works in unison towards a common goal. Nothing feels out of place, every performance is on point, every shot is exquisitely framed and every piece of score is designed to suck you further into every scene. But speaking of performances, this is one of the strongest ensembles of the year. Song Kang-ho, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam and Lee Jeong-eun are incredible as the Kim family, each portraying the various mannerisms and unique personalities of their characters to utter perfection. How they interact as a family is endlessly entertaining to watch and their chemistry radiates off the screen.
Just as strong as the Kim family performances are the performances from Lee Sun-Kyun and Jo Yeo-jeong, who make up two thirds of the Park family. Their interactions with each other and how they compare to the way the Kim’s interact paints a stark contrast that adds a tonne of depth to the film. The dialogue across the board is delivered fantastically, to where despite not being in English, there’s not a single bit of any performance that was lost in translation.
There’s not much else I can say about Parasite without getting into spoiler territory, other than the fact that it’s absolutely phenomenal. The calculated pace and building tension is astounding, performances are riveting, writing is exceptional and Bong’s directing is out of this world. The vision he had in his mind has clearly been bought to life on screen across every department, hence why he took home the gold at the Oscars. For a wholly unique experience you’ve never witnessed, do yourself a favour and check out the spectacular cinematic masterpiece that is Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite.