HOLLYWOOD─If there was one thing I learned as an undergraduate studying film is never be afraid to expand your horizon when it comes to cinema. What does that mean? Some of the best films are those that are not made in the United States, some that actually come with captions. Yes, I’ve heard the complaints time and time again, it is just too difficult to watch a movie with captions. However, I ask myself, how so? I think it’s harder to watch a movie when you’re on a cellphone than paying attention to captions.
If anything the captions elevate the storytelling aspect, as witnessed in the movie “Parasite.” This movie is so enthralling, exciting and a full of surprises it’s hard to talk about this movie without spoiling anything of significance to the audience.
What I will say it involves two families: one who has a plethora of wealth, another trying to stay afloat during difficult times. We have the Park family, who is loaded with money, they slightly flaunt it, but more important is the fact that they are ignorant to the plight of others. They know they have money and they can buy and live wherever they want. What makes the family worse, especially the parents is they look beneath those who don’t live on the same level or standards as they do.
On the flipside, we have the Kim family. They are poor, live in a basement apartment and the family is doing everything in their power to stay afloat. While struggling, the Kim’s son, Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) learns from a friend to consider befriend the Park family to land a job as a tutor. It works, that leads to him getting an angle for his sister to teach art lessons to her son. That later leads to their parents doing a few undermining things to the Park family’s driver and maid to land jobs.
So in essence “Parasite” is a dark comedy in the beginning, but there is a wild and I mean a wild turn that transpires mid-way in the narrative that totally blew my mind and trust me it’s huge. How so? Never in a million years did I see this twist (if that is even safe to call it) unfolding in the narrative. It made me even more enamored with this movie and this exceptional plot which is unlike anything I’ve witnessed in the theater in years. I cannot even talk about it without spoiling it for the viewer, and I refuse to do it because it is smart, innovative and just sensational filmmaking at its best thanks to screenwriter and director Bong Joon-ho.
What he does behind the camera with this movie that feels like a dark comedy, seamlessly transitions into another genre that I would best categorize as a thriller without the slightest hiccup America. We do not see things like that in cinema, where the audience is taken by surprise. It is made ever-more prevalent because it tackles a serious issue in the world: class systems.
We see that polarization of how the wealthy live compared to how the poor live. With that said, we see how the wealthy view the poor and how the poor perceive the wealthy. It is however, the interactions between the two class systems that really excite me about “Parasite.” It’s a gut-punch, eye-opening and opens a dialogue about perception in the world of wealth and money.
“Parasite” was the one movie in 2019 that left me speechless, but in a good way where this movie surprised me in way that I have not seen in years. Intriguing, clever and original in ways we never see in the cinematic universe.