Parasite (2019)



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Parasite won the Palme d’Or at Cannes; the most prestigious award of the festival. It took third place in audience choice at TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie has been slowly rolled out across the United States, starting October 13th. It finally made it to St Louis November 14th. On its way to St Louis, it has been setting records for revenue per screen. The hype and buzz surrounding this movie have been overwhelming. I could not get to a theater fast enough to see it.


The bulk of the buzz around this movie is to go see it without knowing much about it. This is very similar to Sorry to Bother You. Parasite is very hard to pin down to one genre. It touches on drama, comedy, horror, thriller, and pretty much any other genre you can think of. The transitions between genres are seamless. This film is truly unlike anything else I have seen. You should stop reading at this point and go see it; then come back for the discussion below.








I was getting frustrated that I could not see this movie for so long. I kept hearing about it for over a month. Having seen it, it was well worth the hype. As an international film, I was surprised to see that the theater was at capacity when I saw it. It was fun to have a full house, especially when the entire theater erupted into laughter or gasps.


Bong Joon Ho wrote and directed Parasite. Snowpiercer was also written and directed by Bong. Both films deal with class differences. Snowpiercer is set in a dystopian future were inequalities that exist today are amplified. Parasite takes a much more nuanced approach that leaves plenty of room for interpretation. I appreciated the latitude afforded to me by Bong in Parasite.


I had no idea where this rollercoaster of a movie was headed. I was buckled into my seat and enjoying every second of the ride. Every twist and turn linked up so well, yet remained un-expected. The biggest twist in the movie had my jaw-dropping. It shook up the entire movie and reset all of my expectations.


The climactic finish of the movie was good. I am still struggling a little bit with Kim Ki-taek’s motivation at the end of the movie. It felt like more of a turn than he would take given his character’s moves up to that point. I can understand his emotional control being compromised after the night he just had, but he went further than I would expect. Perhaps that was the final gift of the movie giving me an unexpected twist.


Movies like Parasite are few and far between. Generating buzz at the level of Parasite is unparalleled as far as I can remember. I think this is the Oscar winner for Best International Film. A nomination for best picture is also likely, but I doubt the academy will give it the win based on their history. Go see this movie, please.


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©2019 by Sean Whitehurst