On Oct. 11, director Bong Joon Ho released “Parasite” to theatres. The movie had its first showing at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21 and took home the Palme d’Or, the highest award of the festival.
This recognition is well deserved because “Parasite” is the best film to come out this year. It is a South Korean film that has made it across the sea to the United States and it’s a good thing it made it this far. The movie is deep, engaging and very unique.
Don’t be mistaken, “Parasite” is not an inaccessible foreign art film. The movie does have subtitles, which can turn off some, but there are many positives that outweigh the mild adjustment that some may feel if they have not taken in much subtitled media.
Throughout the movie, “Parasite” keeps some levity to break up the tension and bring more humanity to the story. Alongside the humor, when the tension appears, the stakes ramp up to 11. While the film does so much at any given time, it doesn’t dance around the plot with abstract ideas or obscure stylistic choices.
“Parasite” never has a dull moment throughout the entire two hour run time. There are twists and turns with a variety of characters that all have important roles to play. Each character has a unique personality and interacts with each other in a way that demonstrates there is a long history between each of them. While some of the nuance is lost in the transition due to subtitles, the writing is stellar and the translation never felt strange.
“Parasite” is a film that has a message that resonates with any audience and its release this year could not have come at a better time.
The film is rich in themes of class, poverty and parasitism. When all is said and done, no one comes out unscathed as well. Every character has their demons and some feed off of each other. What makes this movie special is how director Bong Joon Ho never preaches to his audience. This choice results in the most human movie of this year, which leaves everyone with a slightly different interpretation.
Poverty and the accumulation of wealth is a problem across the world. Cities are divided by walls separating the rich and poor. Cities where those who can’t afford to move out are forced to live in squalor of alleys or worn homes. It is a conversation that is worth having in a constructive manner and it isn’t occurring in America. What “Parasite” does is effectively start that conversation with a well constructed narrative and visual style that hasn’t been matched by any movie this year.
In the aftermath of Thanksgiving family sparring, this movie is worth a watch. It is a unifying experience where anyone on the political spectrum can agree with some of the points the movie decides to make. This movie does so much so remarkably well that anyone who disagrees with the movie should at least agree that it is extremely well made on a technical level.
With such a divided world where important issues can be swept under the rug, “Parasite” shines a light on a side of modern society that doesn’t get enough attention.
Jayden Perez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @Jayden_Perez13.