9.5/10 After Noah Baumbach creating the best film of his entire career with “Marriage Story”, now we get another film maker, Bong Joon Ho, create his masterpiece and the crowning achievement of his career. The less you know going into “Parasite”, the better. There are a few things I really loved about this film. First of all, the plot. You get the general set up within the first 20 or so minutes of the film but the film takes a completely different turn once something is revealed a little later on. You never know what way the plot is going to twist around to next or what is about to unfold. Despite this being more of a drama, there is one sequence in particular that was perhaps the most suspenseful moment on screen in all of 2019 where I was on the edge of my seat with white knuckles the entire sequence. Speaking of genre, this film expertly traverses a few of them. This film is part drama, part comedy, part social commentary, part ghost story, part thriller, etc. Part of the audience never knowing which direction the film will take is owed to these shifting genres. Sometimes when a film tries to balance too many tonal shifts, it derails the film but Joon Ho has expert control over every aspect of this film. There is even subtle foreshadowing that you won’t realize is happening until much later in the film when you think back to previous scenes. Everything is so meticulously planned out in this film, which was extremely impressive. The score is one of the best of the year and the acting across the board is phenomenal. Joon Ho often uses Song Kang-ho in his films but he has often played a complete screw up or somewhat of a bumbling moron. He plays a completely different role here which was really nice to see and he slips in perfectly well with the rest of the cast. I loved the complexity between these poor and rich characters and that the film doesn’t paint the poor as innocent victims or completely lazy and the rich as evil people just for being rich or flawless hard workers who’ve earned everything in life. Both the families represented in this film are simultaneously flawed and impeccable, as nothing is in black and white in this film. The class warfare struggle going on in the film has a lot to say without being condemning or preachy, like most Hollywood films without any subtlety are. The film is extremely memorable and images will stay with you for a long time afterwards. You are enthralled the entire duration of the running time and you will want to rewatch the film as soon as it ends so you can pick up on some of the minor details you may have missed the first time around. The only slightly minor flaws this masterpiece has are that the score is a bit stronger in the first half of the film than it is in the second half and that there are some convenient coincidences that have to happen in order for the plot to progress (some of the Kim family’s plans go a little too smoothly in the first half of the film). That being said, this is easily the best foreign film I have seen in 2019 and along with “Ford v Ferrari” and “Marriage Story” (three films that couldn’t be more different), one of the best films in 2019 period.
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