Review: 'Parasite' is the Most Unique Movie in Years, and Just Might Be 2019's Best

Movie Reviews
Erik Gjetmundsen
December 2, 2019
by Erik Gjetmundsen
Parasite
Neon Rated
Neon Rated

They say there are no more original stories – that everything is an amalgamation of elements from previous stories that were themselves amalgamations of previous stories and so on and so on. While I personally find this argument to be unproductive, it's probably technically true. However, Parasite, the newest film from director Bong Joon-ho that has been raved about by all who've seen it since its premiere and subsequent top prize victory at the Cannes Film Festival in May, could very well be the exception to the rule. 

The story starts out simple enough, using a lighthearted yet still sincere observation of the absurd breadth between "upper" and "lower" class (putting it very politely) to introduce the audience to the stars of the show, the Kim family. Ki-taek lives with his wife Chung-sook, son Ki-woo and daughter Ki-jeong in a semi-basement apartment infested with cockroaches and a mandatory front row seat to drunks relieving themselves just outside their window in the middle of the day. Despite the family's best efforts, folding hundreds of cardboard pizza boxes a day just isn't paying the bills, and they're running out of options. 

Things really get set into motion when Ki-woo's close friend Min-hyuk reveals that he intends to leave the country to study abroad, but doing so means leaving behind Da-hye, the high-school student he tutors and also has romantic feelings for. Afraid of a potential replacement making a move on her, Min asks if Ki-woo would be interested instead, as he trusts him implicitly. 

Anxious not to squander this opportunity to finally bring some money in, Ki-woo takes countless precautions in order to maximize his chances of getting accepted by Da-hye's mother, which he does. 

This is as much as anyone should know about this thing going in; it is impossible to predict where this story goes and how it gets there, and every new development, no matter how absurd/hilarious/creepy, makes so much sense for the story that you can't help but grin ear to ear at the insane creativity on display. 

While I'm well aware that recency bias is a powerful thing, I simply can not get this movie out of my head. The way scenes play out, the decisions the characters make and the dilemmas those decision put them in, the editing and score and fully realized locations and literally everything else about Parasite never stop feeding off of and enhancing each other and by the end you'll be left exhausted in the best possible way as you recount the all-encompassing journey this idiosyncratic story took you on. 

I subscribe to Howard Hawkes' definition of what makes a great film: "Three good scenes, no bad ones." Parasite has many, many scenes, and no bad ones, and just might be the best film of the year. 

Parasite
Parasite - Neon Rated
Parasite
Parasite - Neon Rated
Parasite
Parasite - Neon Rated
Parasite
Parasite - Neon Rated
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Frozen 2$33.9MKnives Out$14.1MQueen & Slim$6.6MFord v. Ferrari$6.5MA Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood$5.1MDark Waters$4.0M21 Bridges$2.8MPlaying With Fire$2.0MMidway$1.9MLast Christmas$1.0MFrozen 2$33.9MKnives Out$14.1MQueen & Slim$6.6MFord v. Ferrari$6.5MA Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood$5.1MDark Waters$4.0M21 Bridges$2.8MPlaying With Fire$2.0MMidway$1.9MLast Christmas$1.0MFrozen 2$33.9MKnives Out$14.1MQueen & Slim$6.6MFord v. Ferrari$6.5MA Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood$5.1MDark Waters$4.0M21 Bridges$2.8MPlaying With Fire$2.0MMidway$1.9MLast Christmas$1.0MFrozen 2$33.9MKnives Out$14.1MQueen & Slim$6.6MFord v. Ferrari$6.5MA Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood$5.1MDark Waters$4.0M21 Bridges$2.8MPlaying With Fire$2.0MMidway$1.9MLast Christmas$1.0M
Frozen 2$33.9MKnives Out$14.1MQueen & Slim$6.6MFord v. Ferrari$6.5MA Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood$5.1MDark Waters$4.0M21 Bridges$2.8MPlaying With Fire$2.0MMidway$1.9MLast Christmas$1.0MFrozen 2$33.9MKnives Out$14.1MQueen & Slim$6.6MFord v. Ferrari$6.5MA Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood$5.1MDark Waters$4.0M21 Bridges$2.8MPlaying With Fire$2.0MMidway$1.9MLast Christmas$1.0MFrozen 2$33.9MKnives Out$14.1MQueen & Slim$6.6MFord v. Ferrari$6.5MA Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood$5.1MDark Waters$4.0M21 Bridges$2.8MPlaying With Fire$2.0MMidway$1.9MLast Christmas$1.0MFrozen 2$33.9MKnives Out$14.1MQueen & Slim$6.6MFord v. Ferrari$6.5MA Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood$5.1MDark Waters$4.0M21 Bridges$2.8MPlaying With Fire$2.0MMidway$1.9MLast Christmas$1.0M
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