Easily the greatest movie of 2019, Parasite an international wonder. With four Oscars under its belt, including a historical Best Picture win, Bong Joon Ho has created a masterpiece. Every piece of dialogue and every shot is magnificent and it is truly a must see.
For context, this film functions in two acts similar to that of a musical. Parasite is a comedy-thriller and “act one” is the comedy. It follows the lives of a poor family of four: a mom, dad, daughter, and son. Jobless, they become desperate and trick their way into a parallel family of four that perfectly juxtaposes their economic status. The poor four become the workers for the rich four, leeching off the useless wealth, establishing a livelihood.
Thus introduces the commentary that director Bong Joon Ho hopes to subliminally engrave into our heads! The reality is that there is an unreasonable and dysfunctional wage gap worldwide. There is a common separation between the rich and the poor and it’s actually disgusting. The perfect example is the house that Bong Joon Ho designed for the movie especially. For each line, each room was supposed to be able to hold secrets, but also establish the beautiful, simplicity of the rich. They are open (windows everywhere) and trusting! Most movies trying to depict the split between classes show the rich as ruthless and heartless. However, in Bong Joon Ho’s interpretation, the rich are clueless yet not innocent. More realistically, most people never check their privilege and end up causing more harm than good.
And just as the poor are established as workers for the rich, “act two” begins. In this, there is the large twist and the thriller genre bleeds out. The storm hits (literally and figuratively) and this is where we reach the actual climax of the film. Sitting in the theater or on your couch, your heart is pounding and your breath is short. The movie is taking you on so many twists and turns that you don’t really know how to function.
And in this act we reach the second piece of commentary. Climate change. Bong Joon Ho adds in a scene where there is a thunderstorm. However, it is interpreted differently for both families. While the flood ruined a privileged camping trip that the wealthy wanted to go on, it was destroying, making the poor virtually homeless and possession-less.Though the same natural disaster, the effects are so drastic for both classes. When Bong Joon Ho describes this, he spoke of the heartbreaking paradox of this reality. Though the rich constantly waste resources and create the issues with our climate, it is only the poor that suffer the consequences of their actions.
Bong Joon Ho also adds a rock that is used throughout the film that is gifted to the poor son by his rich friend at the beginning. It’s a rock that represents the wealth that people long to have. It’s “useless” but “desirable”. He hugs it when they lose their home because it brings him a sort of solace. Yet at the end, it is used to nearly kill him. His head gets crushed by this “useless” rock. At the same time, it’s beautiful that he eventually survives and finds new light about the life he lives. He has a drive to manipulate his life to BE WEALTHY in the way that he manipulated THE WEALTHY. The rock, or the wealth, got to his head.
Nonetheless, there is so much left to say. However, this is a movie that needs to be seen and not spoiled. This is but a small summary of the plot, but it merely brushes the brilliance of director Bong Joon Ho, a showstopper. Parasite is the GREATEST movie of 2019!
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