Another in a series of fawning love letters to Bong Joon Ho’s masterpiece, Parasite. Spoilers (muted, but spoilers nonetheless.) Go see the damn thing! Then come back and read all of these posts.
How do I love thee, Parasite, let me count the ways:
- I haven’t seen a movie since Chinatown (Best Picture, 1975, along with 5 other Oscars) in which there is not a second wasted. Every image, every word, every composition, every background. Watch as Mr. Kim shows up at Mr. Park’s workplace to apply to be chauffeur. The company name “Another Brick” on the wall. Simple. Throwaway. Essential!
- The interpretation and ending are wide open. Like “The Road” or “No Country for Old Men,” Parasite establishes, or displays a moral universe in which it is hard to find a villain other than the fact that “life goes on.” So it goes. Poo-Tee-Weet! as Vonnegut would say. You are presented with parallel forces of agency (son, Kim Ki Woo), a force of chaos (dad, Kim Ki Taek), and the force of nature/history/the past for your consideration. Which will your choose as “right?”
- It questions the nature of society’s class structures. Who’s the parasite again? Who’s to blame? Who can fix this? Is class mobility a simple as climbing the stairs? What if the ladder has been removed?
- The plot is taut, engaging, surprising.
- Probably most profound for me is the deep Jungian elements, questioning hidden/repressed family and societal shadows. What happens when we ignore our less desirable aspects? What happens when we deny our demons and don’t feed them appropriately? They don’t go away. They just go into hiding, to bite us in the ass in more epic ways later.
- The Garden Party scene, after the flood, is one of the most densely packed, layered, perfect climaxes ever executed. Watch Mr. Kim’s exit closely, blown with paper napkins.
- I haven’t enjoyed peaches so much since… since… well, maybe the Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock, or Peaches “Fuck the Pain Away.”
Is the movie perfect? No. I’d say that if there is one sour note it is Jessica’s drunkenness levels changing during the storm party. With as much hard liquor as she drank, she ought not have recovered for two days, let alone in time to escape in the storm.
But I like that… an entire movie and that is the only thing I can think of as out of place, or a misfire. You? Anything you didn’t like? Leave a comment and I’ll try to talk you out of it.