“Parasite” Review

[Quick note: This movie actually doesn’t get a wide release for a couple more weeks, but I was lucky enough to attend an early screening. As always, everything here is spoiler-free. Hope you enjoy.]

Photo credit: NEON

The person who introduced my screening of Parasite said it best: “Normally we would introduce this and tell you a bit about the plot, but we think this movie is dope so we’re just gonna let you see it for yourself.” Because guess what? Parasite is dope. In fact, it’s more than just dope; it’s a knock-out punch delivered by a director at the top of his game, and with a surprise thrown at you around every corner, it’s an experience that will leave you breathless. As such, I promise to not give a lick of information that would otherwise spoil your viewing (as in, I literally won’t even tell you the surface-level plot of this movie…you can thank me later).

I can say with 100% confidence that you’ve probably never seen anything quite like Parasite in your entire life. I’m not just referring to how impressive the craftsmanship on display here is, but also how I’ve never seen a movie that so actively defies classification into one particular genre. What starts out as a light comedy eventually morphs into so many different things that by the time the credits roll, you’ll swear you weren’t watching the same movie that you started two hours ago. Well, at least that’s what you would think if it weren’t for the genius of director Bong Joon-Ho, who masterfully balances tone in such a seemingly effortless manner that the whole movie is just a delight to see play out on screen. Any time you expect the movie to go left, chances are it’s going to go right, but all of these sharp turns feel earned and contained within the DNA of the story. The execution here truly feels like Joon-Ho dunking from the three-point line.

As this field of tone is navigated, Parasite fires on every possible cylinder along the way. The comedy is subtle, clever, and just plain funny, but the suspense? There are some sequences in this movie so intense and masterfully constructed that you’ll want to yell out at the screen. Even the brief divulges in action scenes are chaotic and adrenaline-inducing. Joon-Ho playing around with genre is like a kid in a candy store if a kid had a virtuoso filmmaker’s sense of camera movement and scene construction. 

The ensemble cast is fantastic, too. Every character feels removed from cliches to the point that there really is no “good” or “bad”, but instead an uneasy ambiguity where every character’s action seems crystal-clear from his or her perspective. This gets to Parasite’s bigger ideas as a whole about class inequality and the ways in which different classes interact: nothing is simplified. Even when the movie is focused on issues like these, it never loses sight of the sense of creativity and fun that helped define the earlier parts of its runtime. Instead, it just peels itself further back to reveal more layers, and it never stops doing so until the very last shot.

Despite my praises, perhaps you’re turned away from Parasite due to it being a subtitled movie. If that’s the case, fine, but don’t lecture me on how much you love the subtitled Dothraki scenes in Game of Thrones or the subtitled French scenes in Inglorious Basterds or the subtitled Jabba the Hutt scenes in…yeah, you get the point. It’s a silly reason to miss out on this movie, and I promise you’ll become so immersed within the opening minutes that you won’t even realize you’re reading the subtitles. Just trust me.

I don’t know what to do with myself until I can see this movie again. I keep replaying certain moments in my head over and over again, and I can only hope that you have as much fun watching it as I did my first time. It really is nothing short of incredible — an entertaining whirlwind of emotions that will leave you drained, make you anxious, but more often than not make you laugh in awe. I admit that I’m a bit callous when it comes to watching movies, but the last hour of this movie essentially fried my brain and my jaw practically hit the floor a couple times. It’s the best movie I’ve seen this year by a landslide and probably one of the very best of the whole decade.

It’s a movie that reminds me why I love movies.

“Parasite” is Ben Watches Things Approved

2 thoughts on ““Parasite” Review

  1. OK, I finally watched this. And it earns all the accolades it has won. Absolutely loved every second of it. The 1st half-2nd half twist was so fantastic. Kind of has echoes of “The White Tiger” in some of the themes and events. Yes, Mr. Bowler – your review is spot on!


    1. Glad you liked it! Yes, lots of parallels to “White Tiger.” It also resembles Jordan Peele’s “Us,” which I find funny since they released within months of each other. I guess inequality is (rightfully!) on the mind of many.


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