This week I thought I would share my views (without spoilers) on my first film. With many more to follow in the coming weeks, unlike books, which I rate out of 5 stars, In Review of… for tv, film and theatre, I will rate out of 10.
Bong Joon Ho’s triumphant 2019 film has garnered plenty of praise in the last few months, most notably scooping the top statues at the Oscars, Baftas and Golden Globes. Walking away from these awards with a clutch of of gold, it became the first foreign language film to win the Oscar for Best Motion Picture – this, of course, for me, as a lover of foreign language films, heightened my anticipation greatly, and I only hoped that I would not be disappointed…
Brilliantly written, acted and directed, Parasite is an utter joy to watch, quite frankly. I purposely found out very little about the film beforehand (other than its director and accolades won), and this deliciously dark story of class, discrimination, politics, satire and insidious obsession, is littered with political references and symbolism.
Trapped in the lower-class working district of Seoul, the Kim family dream of a better life, their view of the world outside, seen from their basement apartment of the street outside, often frequented by a urinating drunk. Scraping together a life by folding pizza boxes and scamming whatever they can to get by, they roam their home, trying to leech off the local wi-fi, hoping that one day, their fortunes might change.
And their fortunes change, thanks to a departing college friend of the Kims’ son, Ki-woo, who is given the opportunity to be an english tutor to the daughter of the wealthy Park family. When it becomes clear that this stroke of luck could benefit them all, the Kim’s set in motion an ambitiously dark plan to make the most out of their son’s rich employers.
Boon’s other work includes the cult film Snowpiercer (made recently into a series by Netflix, where he has writing credits), Okja, and The Host (Based on the novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer).
To go in to detail about what happens in the film, would spoil this wonderfully witty, dark, intelligent film, which I would urge you to try for yourself. It is not often that a film with such hype lives up to expectations, but Parasite delivers on all levels, much like the plot and city it is set in, and the film, which has a decidedly British-feeling sense of wit throughout, never fails to draw you in, stirring all of your senses, including smell. Once the film has a hold, which it quickly does, it never lets you go until the completely unexpected conclusion.
My best film for many a month, Parasite is a thought provoking joy, on all fronts. It will make you laugh, cringe, smile and cry. And most of all, it will make you think about it, for many, many days to come.
Parasite (2019) Running Time: 132 mins (15)
My rating: 9.5/10