“Parasite” stands out in more ways than one

Photo courtesy of Kinocine, Wikipedia

Even though “Parasite” came out months ago and was already taking the film world by storm, its recent win of four Academy Awards skyrocketed its popularity. The South Korean movie’s director, producer, and writer Bong Joon Ho, who has a very interesting and diverse filmography behind him, has finally hit the mainstream.

If somebody has still not seen this movie, I will not give out any plot points and will try to keep scene descriptions at a minimum. This movie deserves to be seen as blindly as possible, for it will leave an even bigger impression upon the audience.

Bong Joon Ho’s direction in “Parasite” is impeccable, and Hong Kyung Pyo’s achievements in cinematography are extremely mesmerizing. Every frame is a painting, and the film’s perfect mix of realism and symbolism is present in most of the shots.

There is a specific shot near the end of the movie involving a toilet that is probably the most meaningful movie frame in years. Half the story is told through visual beauty, and the plot would feel incomplete without such mastery behind the camera.

The screenplay is very funny and entertaining, especially in the first half of the film, but it is also full of meaning, tackling important topics such as class and the path to success. Such issues are a problem in South Korea, but they are also very global, which definitely helps with the film’s international popularity.

The final piece of the filmmaking puzzle is, of course, the acting. Bong Joon Ho has publicly stated that he did not put any of the actors through auditions, instead casting them based on their previous roles and how they would fit into his film. This resulted in perfect performances from every actor and actress involved.

It is difficult to point out stand-out performances without spoiling parts of the story, but a few of the actors elevate “Parasite” to almost unbelievable heights.

Song Kang Ho, who has worked with Bong many times before, plays Ki-taek, the patriarch of the Kim family, the family “Parasite” focuses on. He has been compared to Tom Hanks in respect to his acting prowess in the South Korean film industry, and he absolutely proves that throughout the whole film. His range is visible even in this isolated role, and the variety of emotion he portrays as the film progresses is essential to the film’s success.

The other standout is Park So Dam, who plays Ki-jung, the daughter of the Kim family. She steals every scene she is a part of, playing her role perfectly and giving depth to her character in a way that not many performers are capable of. It would come as no surprise if this were just the first of many great films she will make with Bong Joon Ho. She is a star in the making.

This was a perfect film. Even if one ignores the strong symbols and messages this movie carries, it still remains a highly entertaining and enjoyable piece of art. This is a great pioneer for international films in the United States, and stands as one of the best films of the last decade.

5/5 stars