Written by Teagan Boram
Featured Image Credits to Fortune.com
I am not a film student. I’m just a person who watches a lot of movies and has a lot of opinions. Parasite was a movie I saw this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed. If you read my last review, you know that I give every film I watch a rating out of five stars. Parasite gets four and a half in my book. To put that in perspective, I would give Okja (the other Bong Joon-ho movie that I’ve seen) three and a half stars.
Foreign language films are definitely integral to the appreciation of film as an art, and if you haven’t watched one recently, I recommend it very highly. Since we are in the US and super close to Hollywood, I can understand if you (the average moviegoer) have been overlooking films from other countries, and don’t worry, I’m not judging.
But at this point, I feel like most people have seen or heard something about Parasite. It’s definitely up there with The Lighthouse as well as Midsommar as a few of this year’s most talked-about (and mind-bending) films. And as I told my friend who went with me to go see it as we were forced to purchase tickets in the very front row of the theater: “If it’s a good movie, it’ll still be a good movie even if we’re right up against the screen.” It definitely was.
Like The Lighthouse, I went into Parasite with almost no expectations. If anything, I was hoping (and expecting) it to be a better film than The Lighthouse. I also wasn’t even really sure what it was about. It is a lot less simple than a couple of guys being dudes on a rock in black and white. Here I will list a few things that you should keep an eye out for as a viewer:
1. The rock
3. The garden party
I don’t think it’s really possible for those to be spoilers, but if you regard them as such, I’m extremely sorry. If I went on to extrapolate these symbols and their importance/metaphors when it comes to the plot, then that would be spoilers. But instead, I’m just giving you all a friendly heads up.
If I were to compare Parasite to another film I saw recently, it would be Hirokazu Koreeda’s Shoplifters, which came out in 2018. Both explore similar themes of family and poverty. Somehow, though, I’d call Shoplifters a more beautiful film, just in the way it’s shot, but Parasite is by no means an ugly film. Definitely more gritty in comparison to Shoplifters, but nowhere near as desolate as Okja.
I really feel like I’m using too much italics here, and there’s not much more to say besides: this film wowed me. Bong Joon-ho creates tension beautifully in a way that would probably make Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch jealous. I had to keep reminding myself that it was just a movie and that what was unfolding on screen was not going to have any real consequences in my life. It is truly a test of letting go, as one of the main characters says (and it’s not a spoiler because I think it’s in one of the previews), “You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan.”
In a way, I wish I could live my life like, but I’m also not sure whether the film is saying if that’s a good idea.
Before I close this review, I’d also like to talk about why I didn’t give this film five stars. In terms of my rating system, four and a half is pretty good, and four is probably my average (because I try not to watch bad movies). For me, a five-star film clicks immediately. It feels like something I could’ve made or would like to make. There has to be a pretty strong aspect of “quirkiness” or humor. Parasite did have a little bit, but it was mostly serious. The suspense was killer, and the violence did not resonate with me (it’s not grossly excessive but…).
Based on this, and if you read my Lighthouse review, feel free to drop the title of a movie, you think I may give five stars in the comments below. Who knows? It could be my next review. So long for now.