Saturday, October 26, 2019
Movie Review: Parasite (Gisaengchung)
This Korean film is not only the best movie of the year, but one of the best of recent years.
This is a movie that is not afraid to change tones as it goes along. It can go from a silly comedy to social satire to a very dark and disturbing suspense film in a heartbeat. How incredibly well this movie does this is perfect. The social commentary on the often complicated relationship between rich and poor is a lot of what holds this together. This movie never stops to preach to us, as would be done by lesser filmmakers, nor does it simplify the complexities of its subject. Despite this the movie's lighter and dark moments fit together because they are both connected to this similar theme. The mixture of lighter and darker moments is also part of what keeps this movie so suspenseful. You never know if what is coming up not will be funny or disturbing. There were times when I felt I knew where this movie was going and was shocked to see it go in another direction, but each time what it did was better than what I saw coming. Adding to this is that the characters were all completely untrustworthy. There is no one who has a true moral compass and everyone is capable of great darkness. This movie could have so easily done what so many movies about the rich and poor do, making one side good and one side evil. However this is too simplistic and too cliché of an approach for this film. Life is not defined by simple terms like good and evil and neither is the world of this film. Between all the black and whites are many grays. This is all perfectly crafted in a way only a master filmmaker Bong Joon Ho can do. It is no exaggeration to call him one of the greatest filmmakers of our generation.
It may seem with some of what happens that one might want to call a comparison to another brilliant Korean film, The Housemaid (1960). However the two movies are extremely different and this movie never borrows from that earlier classic. Instead this is a one of a kind work of art that is a true rarity in any time period. If you are a movie lover, you have no reason not to see this movie. I don't care if you don't like to read subtitles you still need to see it. There is nothing else quite like this and I am sure it will go down in film history as one of the best movies of our generation.
-Michael J. Ruhland