By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) –
I very honestly don’t know why the time is now, but it looks like world-class director Bong Joon-ho, and the world-class national cinema of Korea, are finally bound for some Oscar love this season. Damn straight.
All this after Burning couldn’t even land a Foreign Language Film nom last year.
Parasite follows a destitute family who determine by hook or crook that they’ll all work their way into the graces and employ of a rich but oblivious family. Horrifying, hilarious, heartbreaking twists and turns ensue. As Korean film does.
There’s a reason why this film is getting all of the accolades that it has ever since it captured the Palme D’Or at Cannes- you can’t tear your eyes away for 135 minutes. What director Bong Joon-ho has crafted here is a fiendishly clever class struggle metaphor, far less on-the-nose as his still quite excellent Snowpiercer, but just as thrilling.
Man, those kids are fucked in the end, eh?
Throughout the film, your allegiances shift all over the place, just as the tone does from funny to sad to horrific, sometimes even in the same scene. This is the particular alchemy of the great Korean directors, something that shouldn’t work but does supremely precisely because it strikes a high-wire balance that most directors would never even try to walk. In doing so, the complexity of the film’s themes and ideas is underscored perfectly- form and function in perfect harmony.
Bong and long-time DP Hong Gyeong-pyo deliver spectacular shot after spectacular shot with a style that is icy, clinical, and perfect for the material, like a David Fincher/Jeff Cronenweth collaboration. It’s no wonder that when recently asked what TV show he would do an episode of given the chance, Bong instantly offered up Mindhunter.
Please make this happen.
The whole cast is very, very great (Song Kang-ho seems like he has no choice but be just the best), although my favorite is xx playing a particularly parasitic man we meet later in the film is nothing short of masterful in his ability to embody the grossest man you can imagine- skin-crawling, and I mean that as the highest compliment.
Parasite is a devilishly conceived, brilliantly acted genre mishmash with razor sharp thematic teeth tearing at society’s underbelly. You know, a Bong Joon-ho film.
Parasite (2019) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever we see the philosopher’s stone
Take a Drink: for rain
Take a Drink: for the toilet
Take a Drink: for Morse code
Take a Drink: “metaphorical”
Do a Shot: every time someone is hired