So Bong Joon-Ho really made a film that combines family drama, dark comedy, intense social commentary, a Soderbergh-esque heist, Tarantino-style dialogue and scene structure, and Hitchcockian suspense, thrills, and narrative twists? And it all meshed beautifully? This man is a genius!
The visual aesthetic of this film is absolutely spellbinding. The sublime manipulation of the camera from Director of Photography Kyung-pyo Hong is truly something to behold. Working closely with Bong Joon-Ho and production designer Ha-jun Lee, Hong’s tight grip on geometrically influenced shot-selection and light balance is what all cinematographers aspire to achieve. Hong manages to take camera work that should feel flashy and bombastic, and translate it into something natural, smooth, and steady. The visual metaphors and optical symbolism are so deeply nuanced and intentionally developed, without coming across as pretentious or heavy-handed. And, this is essentially the nature of the entire feature. This bizarre conglomeration of tones should have been a complete and utter failure. Quite on the contrary, PARASITE is a masterpiece. Every single swing is a massive home run.
PARASITE digs into themes relating to the class system and the impact of living in isolation. (Screenplay from Han Jin Won and Bong Joon-Ho). The primary story question is, at its core, “How far would we go for our family?” Every single decision made by the characters in this film – good, bad, or morally-ambiguous – is driven by this question. Audience members will think long and hard about certain situations in the film, and contemplate their own potential reactions to these circumstances. And is this not what “cinema” is supposed to do? When a piece of art is so unequivocally incendiary and dynamic in its appraisal of the current state of society, and the delivery of this commentary is practically flawless, then what more can be asked of it? PARASITE, director Bong Joon-Ho, and every single person remotely involved in this production effort deserve an A+ and beyond.