Movie Review: Bong Joon-ho – Parasite

Don't forget to turn off your phones! Credits: Donald Tong/Pexels

With a very spread out release order, Ireland finally got a grasp of South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece Parasite on the 7th of February. Saying that it lived up to its expectations remains an understatement.

Don’t forget to turn off your phones! Credits: Donald Tong/Pexels

Astonishing. If one word could describe Parasite, that would be it. A story about the poor Korean family Kim taking over the rich one Park thanks to its son’s schemes. A metaphor, as many directors use cinema, to criticise the wealth gap in South Korea and the social gap it results in.

In itself, art is all about emotions. Upon seeing a beautiful painting or reading a good book, one feels many things, often opposite. Films were never an exception. Parasite dives in many different aspects to convey emotions to the viewer. In a way, it’s a comedy. Many moments aim at triggering laughter – how the Kims framed the Parks’ staff and forced them to quit or led to them being fired makes you feel bad for laughing at it, but you still do. However, it’s also a dark film. The Parks’ basement holds the husband of the previous housekeeper, Moon-gwang. The climax reveals the influence Quentin Tarantino certainly had on Bong. Yet the ending feels hopeful.

Parasite won multiple accolades: the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Festival in France last summer, and four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It became the first South Korean movie to win the Palme d’Or and to be awarded Oscars, while also being the first film not in English to win Best Picture.

The film earned its success. The dialogues are well-written, the cast plays well – evenly well, meaning performances from the lead cast strike as equally amazing, the editing looks sharp and the scenario binds it all together. It is a textbook example of a good film, but it does not shine through its originality but rather through its simplicity. Bong Joon-ho gave a masterclass on the basics of filming. He made the exercise of finding one weak element in the movie a difficult task. Furthermore, after the likes of Okja and Snowpiercer, he showed how relevant he was in the modern cinema landscape.