It is easy to find a script with good “plot” and “character development.” There is an entire field devoted to it—it’s called literature—and that’s one of many reasons why I never use those petty cop-out terms in reviews. The hard part is for a crew & ensemble to collectively contort a script within the contextual parameters set by everything from the greatest to even the pettiest aspects of a film—and still finish seamlessly. I’m talking about even minor things like the score, lighting, color grading, set design, pacing of the screenplay, sound editing & mixing, visual effects, performances of minor characters, subliminal themes tucked in the nuances of actors’ subtleties, etc. All of these parts shape the ideas, feelings, and moods extrapolated by audiences. And if there is any clear flaw, the auditorium mutates from a magical portal to a new world into just a room of random people watching random actors walk around a constructed set with rehearsed lines & histrionic interactions. But if there’s no ostensible flaw, the film is an anomaly, one that usually lasts the bold arrow of time. Parasite checks every box. It is as flawless as it is profound. It is, in my subjective view, the best film of 2019—perhaps the best I’ve seen since Moonlight. But to even call it merely a “film” is an injustice.
With thematic manifestations comparable to those of a Greek tragedy, an eerie setting comparable to that of Get Out, an aesthetic comparable to that of Blade Runner, an artfulness comparable to that of Lost in Translation, and an undercurrent of socioeconomic journalism comparable to that of many documentaries, it twists through its enigmatic 2-hour tale like a dragon. It whips you, coils around, soars into the clouds, twists & turns, falls through the sky, unleashes fire upon you, and darts into the horizon with a smirk—its tail slapping your face on its way out. You will be disturbed (but you’ll be fine if you survived Get Out). You will be engaged and entertained; the pacing is brilliant, while the many unpredictable left-handed jabs will keep you on your toes. And despite its shape-shifting nature, the tonal balance always remains fluid. You will finish the film with a brief sense of disgust, then of fascination, then of desire—desire for a new world, one wherein the economic and social gap between the “haves” & “have-nots” isn’t so vast, particularly in places like South Korea (where Parasite is set). I’ll refrain from further exposition in hope that everyone who hasn’t seen it does—and leaves with their own valid interpretations. Like it or not, you’ll never forget this masterpiece.