South Korean film Parasite stands out at end of decade


Courtesy of Neon CJ Entertainment

By Tony Racy, Opinion Editor

With the decade coming to a close, critics and casuals alike are compiling their lists of the greatest movies of the 2010s. Many of their top choices may be movies like Inception, La La Land or any Marvel movie. While many people will think about the juggernaut movies that smashed the box office, I personally believe the best movie of the decade is Parasite, the first movie from South Korea to ever win the Palme d’Or.

This film is indisputably director Bong Joon-ho’s magnum opus. It opens as an almost dark comedy, with Kim Ki-taek, Chang Hyae-jin, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, or the Kim family, struggling to make ends meet living in a semi-basement home. As Ki-woo accepts a job to be a tutor for a rich family, his whole family begins to awkwardly infiltrate their home with their own false identities and jobs to leech off of their income, as the title of the movie suggests.

But the film quickly takes a dark turn as the film’s themes and messages reveal itself. It’s reflection on our current capitalist society, the relationship between the rich and the poor and a class revolution is absolutely brilliant. Bong Joon-ho masters his craft of chaotic story-telling as his film’s use of comedy and tragedy is guaranteed to leave the viewer shocked.

The imagery is quite powerful too. The juxtaposition created between the rich Park family and poor Kim family through different scenes like the showing of both of their homes is almost unsettling. As Ki-woo states all too often within the film itself, everything is so “metaphorical.” Even the ending confirms the suspicions the viewer builds up throughout the film. The film does a brilliant job on letting these issues subtly take center stage without ever addressing it’s themes and messages.

The screenplay is not the only thing Bong Joon-ho hits on. Acting from the likes of Song Kang-ho, Cho Yeo-jeong and others is fantastic with their portrayal of their characters and the strong expression of emotions. The cinematography provokes a strong reaction of suspense. The soundtrack might not be as noticed, but I felt it matched the mood of the scenes well and helped amplify the suspense. The production gets everything right in this movie.

Maybe I have recency bias, but what I know for sure is that I haven’t seen a stronger screenplay this decade than from this film. This film certainly tops my decade’s best list, and I would highly recommend for all to watch this movie.