“Once you overcome the 1-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” This is what Parasite director Bong Joon Ho said at the Golden Globes in January after his film picked up an award for best foreign-language film. One month later, that same film took home the Oscar for Best Picture. Since the win, the film has gained a bit more traction and is getting extra exposure, understandably so. I managed to catch it this weekend at long last, and I can say with the utmost confidence that Bong Joon Ho is indeed correct, and Parasite is more than worthy of the accolades that it has received. This is not only an incredible piece of art, I genuinely believe this could become an all-time great.
I went into this film not knowing much about it. I knew the premise of the plot, but that was about it, I didn’t have a clue what I was getting in to and I’m so glad that I didn’t, because it made the experience all the more special. I would recommend you do the same, so this review is going to be spoiler-free and I’m not going to delve too deep into it, because the less you know, the better.
What I can tell you is that Parasite follows a poor family of four, who come up with an elaborate plan to get themselves all employed by a wealthy family by posing as skilled, qualified individuals. It’s a simple premise, perhaps one that sounds relatively dull if that’s all you know about it, but trust me when I say this, Parasite veers off in directions that are both brilliant and unexpected and you will no doubt find yourselves gripped to this story that continues to unfold even at its climax. Bong Joon Ho juggles with a lot of different genres in this film, but they all blend together perfectly and it is all seamless. It’s funny, it’s heartfelt, it’s deep, it’s dark, it’s tense, it’s terrifying… It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and it rarely gives you a chance to ease up. There are so many layers to this film that I think it’s inevitable that everyone will take something different away from the experience, there are strong messages relating to the class divisions in society and the consequences that can come from these, I found myself reflecting quite a lot after watching it and I truly believe that it’s a film that will just evoke more new feelings and thoughts each time it is viewed. (Something I intend to do, many times!)
I think I’ve said enough, I’m wary that as I continue to type I find myself eager to reveal more, and I really don’t want to do that. Just take it from me, Parasite is an absolute must-see film, it really is something special and I doubt we’ll get something like this again for a very long time.
Do not let the fact it’s in a foreign language put you off, be open-minded, you’ll be so invested into the story that you’ll genuinely forget at times you’re reading subtitles. If anything, the fact that the film is in Korean just adds to the authenticity and the charm it delivers. Much like another foreign-language film I adore, Pan’s Labyrinth, I couldn’t imagine Parasite being done any other way.
Parasite is truly a masterclass in filmmaking, every aspect of it is done to near-perfection… the acting, the cinematography, the score, the lighting, the pacing… Everything. I am genuinely struggling to find anything bad to say about this film. Films like this don’t come around very often and we need to take full advantage of it when they do. Get out there, watch it, show your support for foreign-language productions like this and if we’re lucky, we may be treated to more in the future.
This is a film everyone should experience. It has won Best Picture for a reason, go and find out why.
I give Parasite a 9.5/10.