October 21, 2019

Parasite: The Latest Greatest

Much has been made of Bong Joon-ho's most recent movie Parasite, which has picked up Best Film awards at a number of festivals including the prestigious Cannes. But when a reviewer proclaims that this movie is the director's masterpiece, you have to wonder: Have they seen anything by Bong Joon-ho before? Isn't Memories of Murder a masterpiece? How about Okja? Or The Host? I'd certainly argue on behalf of any of them. As for Mother, and Snowpiercer, and Barking Dogs Never Bite, I've no doubt that those have their champions too. Seriously... He hasn't got a stinker in the bunch. My point is that when you're dealing with a director like Bong — or Park Chan-wook or Pedro Almodovar or Federico Fellini — it ultimately becomes a matter of favorites since nearly everything they make is touched by genius. Is Parasite Bong's masterpiece? Well, it's definitely one of them.

And so, unsurprisingly, Parasite has no shortage of riches: it's got astute class commentary that portrays the rich as children insisting they be pampered; strong performances across the board, especially from the ever-reliable Song Kang-ho as the downtrodden patriarch; a suspense-laden crime story that challenges your alliances periodically; and plenty of visual gags to interrupt the ongoing tension with intermittent giggles. Will the poor Kim family usurp the rich Park family by taking over the roles of all their servants in their architectural wonder of a home? Well, yes and no. What that means exactly is answering in a distinctly Bongian manner, upstairs, downstairs, and in the basement. Now keep your dirty paws off those dog treats.

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