Before you get to Megan's beautiful film review, let me just say that the Oscar winning flick, Parasite, is totally rockological. There is actually -no joke- a big 'ole rock that takes the main stage for part of the moral-drive. At the beginning, this fancy pants stone in the image above is received as a gift by another character and then it reappears throughout the entire length of the film as plot develops and things get uber tense. Anyway, without further prep, here she is: the one, the iridescent, Megan Schindler, in her blogger form as Poetically Frustrated!
I cannot protect you from the SPOILERS this piece contains, besides warning you that what you are about to read does contain spoilers. I intend to give Parasite the time, energy, and detail it deserves in a review, I will likely mention details that could spoil this tension-packed thriller. Consider yourself warned.
Similarly, you must be aware that I am not a professional film critic. So, kindly deal with that as you read. I am simply someone who truly enjoys film. For what it's worth, I did take a Film Studies class last decade, and as I paid out the nose for that college time, it worth something to me.
First off, you know by now that the Korean film, Parasite, took home the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Foreign Language Film in 2020. High praise for a film that initially sounds like one of those Korean Horror knock-off’s of the Human Centipede, but oh dear reader, you are wrong. Though Parasite may initially feel inaccessible and intangible because of its English subtitles and bizarre cover, it is neither Horror, nor a knock off. What it is…I don’t really know. IMDB calls it a black comedy, but I’m going to describe it as a genre-bending, cannot-look-awayish, train wreck of delicious schadenfreude.
The film’s genius lies in its trajectory, how it starts, rationally enough, with us, the watchers, totally on board with a plan that is perhaps not smart, but certainly within the realm of possibility. We get it, people in poverty see an opportunity and they take it. The tension builds steadily and slowly with the subsequent decisions becoming so much higher stakes, so many more elaborate ruses, and us as watchers feel the speed and momentum careening out of control.
The moment that this momentum shifts is arguably during the rainstorm when everyone gets drunk. We’re no longer on board, no longer cheering for the success of the mission. Now, we’re watching in horror, internally screaming, “You complacent idiots!” This moment too, sets the inevitable wheels of downfall in motion. We know we’re heading for something really, really messed up when we meet the creepy guy in the basement. No one eats a banana like that, so we know he’s going to be bad news.
And the rest of the film is a visually glorious unraveling of sanity and expectation. Here we see some classic marks of foreign and Korean film especially—a nod to Korean horror, but also the tendency to show action and events bluntly and in their full scope. There are no fancy cutaways and creative angles here, folks. You see the blood and action and stabbings all as they happen right in front of you—you get the sight and the sound. Blunt and dirty.
I think what ultimately makes Parasite worthy of its Oscar is a perfect blend of plot, acting, and scene. Again, the tension buildup and breaks are perfectly timed with foreshadowing and motifs tantalizing us along the way. Smells anyone? The acting is also very, very well-done. The sisters was my favorite, and as a Counselor, her art therapy schtick is pretty on point. The scenery is not only beautiful, but whoever designed the lighting also gets a nod. Lights and darks in all the right places.
If you haven’t seen Parasite, or you’re diligently practicing social distancing and looking to be enthralled, mesmerized, and horrified in one go, give it a shot. You can rent it right now on Amazon. One thing is for sure, I’ll be paying a lot more attention to Bong Joon-ho.
Check out Megan's blog here: