The latest film from Bong Joon Ho ("Snowpiercer," "Okja") is funny, thrilling and poignant, and is a must-see for anyone looking to fill out their "Best of 2019" scorecards.
It's a shame that many "average" movie-goers will disqualify watching a movie once they hear it is subtitled. Yes, some foreign films that make it over state-side for a theatrical release can be a bit on the "art-house" side of things. But others (think "Life is Beautiful," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" or "A Separation") are so universally powerful that they transcend spoken language, and become vital pieces of cinema that need to be seen by the masses.
"Parasite" is the latest film to penetrate this elite category.
The film - South Korea's official entry for this year's Academy Awards - was awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the highest prize awarded. At the Toronto Intl. Film Festival, is won Third Place among the People's Choice Awards, an honor that in recent years has predicted overall award-season success, and a mark that just shows how accessible this foreign-film is to a worldwide audience.
It's a movie that really has everything, and works on so many different levels, seemingly effortlessly. To discuss the plot of "Parasite" in any great detail would be to ruin its effectiveness, other than to say that it is a movie with clear social relevance, and one that speaks to the human condition. I know, heady stuff. But "Parasite" has a lot to say, and is packaged in such a way where, like its title, it finds a way to latch on and then burrows deep down inside your very soul.
It is truly a deft skill to be able to land subtle truths in a way that doesn't seem preachy or on the nose. Bong Joon Ho plays with themes of class, and the perceptions that are formed based on where you fit in on the societal food chain. It's interesting to watch this family nucleus and the character's motivations change depending on the situation they're in...but again, it may be frustratingly vague, but it's best that you just watch "Parasite" and go in knowing as little as possible about it.
But also know this: "Parasite" is one of the best films of 2019, and one of the few films of the year that is truly an unshakable experience.
Genre: Comedy, Thriller, Drama.
Run Time: 2 hour 12 minutes.
Starring: Kang-ho Song, Yeo-jeong Jo, So-dam Park, Woo-sik Choi, Sun-kyn Lee, Ji-so Jung, Hye-jin Jang, Jeong-eun Lee.
Co-Written and Directed by Bong Joon Ho ("Okja," "Snowpiercer," "The Host").
"Parasite" is in limited-release staring on Friday, November 1st, 2019.
Looking for a specific movie or review?