Bong Joon-ho is, and always has been, a master of his craft. Memories Of Murder (2003) stands to me at least as his best accomplishment, a tense and brilliantly told thriller set in rural South Korea. His striking storytelling is second to none and his ability to study the human mind is genuinely unparalleled. His newest feature film Parasite (2019) is his most successful and critically acclaimed film to date. Winning a plethora of awards including the Oscar’s “Best Picture Award,” Bong Joon-ho has reached more people with his films than ever before. And his most recent one is among my favourite films of the last five years or so. It’s beautifully told and features an incredible cast that capture so much humanity and beauty, it’s impossible not to be enamored by all of them. It’s dense with themes of inequality within society, prejudice and the importance of family. I was left speechless, literally for half an hour, just trying to process how amazing it really was.
Without spoiling too much, Parasite is the story of two families of different class backgrounds brought together by a series of lies. The issue of wealth inequality is a central theme to the film. The poorer family felt marginalized and offended by the wealthier family, who clearly saw them as inferior and filthy. The affluent and large modern house became a metaphor for conflict and struggle. The top floor represented a safe space for the wealthy, who kept that space relatively secretive from everyone else. The ground floor of the wealthy house represented equality, or more accurately the struggle for equality, a place where the poor family felt like escape, or break free from the shackles they felt they had on. They also had an underground basement that was hidden away, representing the lower, filthier class of ‘animals.’ The disjointed and tense dynamic brought such a thrilling atmosphere that filled the big screen. I was amazed at how layered this film was, not only in terms of the conversation about class inequality, but also the importance of family and trust. The closeness and intimacy of the Kim family brought strength, unity and humour. The film had some wonderfully funny moments that showed the pure humanity of each family member. Each character was highly relatable, with layers of emotion and pure human depth that really touched a chord in me. This is what made the film such a joy to experience. The film really showed every single layer of the human spirit, and it was told with a gentle touch and spirit.
Overall, the beauty and humanity of Parasite made it one of the most oddly relatable films in recent years. I’m so happy it’s finally getting the reach and recognition it deserves. Truly one of the best Oscar ‘Best Picture’ Winners in recent years. Parasite is amazing.