Parasite [TIFF19 Review]

Image credit: Courtesy of TIFF

Parasite cons you just like it’s protagonists con the family they infiltrate the life of. Bong Joon-oh makes you believe one thing and then lets the curtain fall, it’s then that you realize that you are faced with a totally different film. What Bong Joon-oh does so well is to create a feeling of comfort in you, you think you know where it’s all going and then… Goodbye comfort and hello madness. It’s wild, unpredictable but oh so delightful. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what type of film Parasite is. Not because it’s nothing but because it’s everything. At times comedy, followed by thriller to end with drama, Parasite blends genre like nothing else before.

Ki-taek, his wife Chung-sook, his daughter Ki-jung and his son Ki-woo are at the bottom of the food chain. They live in an overcrowded and unsanitary baseman apartment, the struggle has become part of their everyday lives and their future looks less and less appealing. But when Ki-woo gets the opportunity of a lifetime to work for a rich family, the Parks, they hatch a plan to take themselves out of their world and towards the one that the Parks live in. But of course, nothing goes according to plan.

Parasite keeps you on your feet. Everything they do is dangerous, they could get caught at any moment but a sense of security looms over you even when everything goes to hell. Maybe it’s because of the way we view films as North-Americans, where everyone gets their happy ending. It’s interesting looking back on it right now to see how the whole film, I was so sure that I knew what would happen and every time the carpet was taken right from under my feet, leaving me reeling to try and figure out what would happen next and yet never being able to keep my footing when something else would happen and send me reeling even more.

Once you know the first twist of the film, everything makes sense. I won’t spoil it for you because it was a nice surprise when you finally see it happen but once everything is exposed, the film message works so well. This is a film about class, about how our circumstance forces in certain situations and you can’t escape even as much as you want. One of the most powerful moments is after a storm, the family is forced to live in a gym with everyone else who’s apartment was totally destroyed by the storm while the Park prepare a big party like nothing happened, because for them, because of their circumstances, nothing happened. It hard-hitting and seeing the montage of a man with nothing doing everything for a woman who has everything while she beams about the fact that the storm made me pollution go away, it’s powerful.

Foreign films can sometimes be weird because you spend a lot of time reading. But what’s even harder is making jokes work. A lot of comedy relies on delivery and while you get the tone in a foreign film, you do read the joke and they might not land as well, but Parasite never has this problem. I don’t know if it was the way the lines were delivered where we understood the tone, or if it was simply a combination of everything, but almost every joke landed. Everyone was laughing, and while there was some physical comedy, a lot of it was also simply from the dialogue. And that is something that is rare and I will relish for a long time.

It’s not hard to see why Parasite won The Palme D’Or at Cannes. It’s easily one of the best movies ever made, even a day later I can’t find faults to it. I enjoyed it from it’s very first moment to it’s very last. I would even call it a masterpiece, that’s how much I enjoyed it and I would recommend it to everyone. If you aren’t able to catch it during the Festival, just wait for October when it comes out and be ready for one of the wildest times in a theatre.