Crossing The Line
Undoubtedly you have heard the extreme buzz and acclaim of Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite by now and after watching the gripping and wickedly funny film, I can’t help but get on board with how powerful, intense, and amazing this film actually is. Parasite is a film with focus and never loses sight of the central story it wants to tell while also having moments of quiet imagery to make the audience ponder. It examines tense social class issues and invites viewers to ask deep questions about how society treats each. This film is a masterpiece and I would be shocked if this film did not take Best Picture in the upcoming Oscars ceremony.
The Kim family live in poverty, carrying out their downs in a semi basement apartment where drunkards come and urinate on their windows. When an opportunity for the son to work in the wealthy Park family’s home arises, the Kim’s immediately start planning and scheming their way into the upper class of wealth to escape their impoverished lives. But as the film develops, Joon Ho leaves his best surprises and twists when you think everything is calm and changes his film’s genre entirely.
The film would not succeed without its wonderfully written characters and from the beginning you truly are rooting for the Kim family to succeed and escape poverty, even if it is at the expense of hoodwinking an upper class family. The Kim’s are a family that care for each other and want the best for their lives. Their simple basement apartment with just a minimal ray of sunshine into their house symbolizes their yearning for a better life. They are hopeful yet cunning in their deception. The film finds a lot of fun in its first act just seeing how easily the Kim’s are able to ingratiate themselves into the Park’s servitude.
The Park’s on the other hand are the complete polar opposite of the Kim’s but the film never poses them as villainous but rather ignorant of the lower class. The Park family throws money at problems instead of solving them, they worry about anyone crossing their line, the live so isolated from other people that they ignore the problems of the lower class. Yet they still pay the Kim’s their daily sum and more on some occasions but never treat them as equals or friends. The dichotomy that exists between them is a perfect encapsulation of the social gap that Joon Ho mines to its maximum potential.
The story is one of the most unique, visceral, and engaging stories from the past decade. Joon Ho has set up a film that exists as a drama, comedy, thriller, horror, and suspense all at the same time. The first act sets up an engaging yet hilarious riff as the Kim’s infiltrate the Park’s daily lives. The second act does a quick heel turn into a suspenseful thriller where you are constantly on edge, the third act then again subverts expectations in an ending that is equally haunting yet honest in its execution. I held my breath for about 30 minutes straight during one portion of the film, and I have not felt that kind of intensity in my entire life.
The film also uses beautiful imagery to depict how character’s are feeling and foreshadowing certain events. Just a simple walk from one part of town to another can leave so many implications about socioeconomic gap and class structure that it is awe-inspiring how a filmmaker can be so tasteful. It is also the movie’s credit that it leaves a lot of things unsaid and ambiguous in order for the audience to think on things and interpret. A simple expression on a man’s face tells the whole story of how he is feeling that when he does something radical, it doesn’t feel out of place from where their character is going. There is so much subtlety and nuance to this film that it is simply a masterpiece.
The social themes and allusions are definitely where this film exudes its final strides and hits you in the gut to make you feel the disgust and pain of the lower class. Joon Ho has made a film that feels real and honest in its depiction of socioeconomic gaps and never paints someone as an outright hero or villain. This is reality, and anyone who denies the overall implications of this film is lying about what the world is truly like. The film is hopeful and fearful at times, giving an honest depiction of life’s various ups and downs that exist.
Parasite is not just a masterpiece of the year, it is a masterpiece of the decade. It constantly subverts your expectations and makes you feel tense and laughing sometimes in the same scene. The real life implications this movie examines are beyond anything I have seen from a filmmaker in my entire cinematic experience. I cannot praise this film more highly and demand that you see it immediately. If this film does not take home the Best Picture award, I will be in uproar for the remainder of the year.