Director: Bong Joon Ho
Cast: Song Kang Ho, Lee Sun Kyun, Cho Yeo Jeong
Release Date: January 28, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Meet the Park family, the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks. By turns darkly hilarious and heart-wrenching, Parasite showcases a modern master at the top of his game.
‘Parasite’ tells the tale of two families on opposite ends of the financial spectrum. The Kim family lives partly underground in a basement home struggling to pay the bills, forced to take on side jobs when available merely to pay their phone bill. Meanwhile, the Park family lives a luxurious life in a remarkable, expansive home with their every need and whim attended to by hired help. But when one member of the Kim family is hired on as a tutor for one of the Park’s children, he starts making moves to remove the rest of the staff from their positions in order to weave his family members in as their replacements, with a symbiotic relationship between the two families slowly forming. But will the end result be a peaceful transition or chaos?
Directed by noteworthy filmmaker Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host) from a screenplay he additionally co-wrote with Jin Won Han (and based upon an initial story by Bong Joon Ho), Bong Joon Ho does a phenomenal job at the helm of ‘Parasite’ guiding along this emotional tale of struggle, fate and hope with a clear passion and focus. This incredibly human story also benefits tremendously from a talented and well selected cast that includes Song Kang Ho, Lee Sun Kyun, Cho Yeo Jeong, Choi Woo Shik, Park So Dam, Lee Jung Eun, Chang Hyae Jin and more, with the majority providing fitting and well balanced performances in each of their respective roles that almost never disappoint or slip.
‘Parasite’ is nothing short of cinematic perfection. It’s a powerful, moving and occasionally unnerving tale of two drastically opposite families and the unnatural, symbiotic relationship that evolves between them. Beautifully crafted, detailed and loaded with heart, tension and care, ‘Parasite’ is an emotionally charged tale of humanity and the love of family that explores the drastic differences as well as numerous similarities between those living remarkably different lives on the surface. A heartfelt tale with relatable characters on each side of the financial scope, some of who may act in a less than respectable fashion at times, yet only as a necessity for survival, almost never are bad or sinister intentions involved in the actions and choices made by these characters. I would wholeheartedly encourage trying to make a definite point of checking out ‘Parasite’ whenever you can find the chance. It’s an outstanding and refreshingly original film (as well as one of the very best films of 2019) that’s expertly brought to life by remarkably talented filmmaker Bong Joon Ho whose meticulous work behind the camera is beautifully complimented by a highly capable and well selected cast. It’s a remarkable film in every respect that should not be missed and at the absolute least it should prove well worth a couple hours of your time and the cost of a rental at some point in the foreseeable future.
Overall, ‘Parasite’ is an astounding and massively entertaining film that delivers on all fronts and continually impresses throughout its duration. Easily one of last year’s absolute finest offerings by far and a marvelous accomplishment from filmmaker Bong Joon Ho. ‘Parasite’ easily earns one of my highest possible recommendations. It’s a perfectly paced and acted tale of two families with honest intentions but stuck on opposite ends of the class spectrum and the connection that evolves between them. It’s a passionately told and visually gorgeous piece of cinema that is a delightfully unique and original offering that you don’t find in mainstream cinemas too often these days. It’s wonderful to see such a powerful film from another country being so welcomed and praised like it should here in the states. For anyone who appreciates quality filmmaking with something new to say, you definitely won’t even want to contemplate missing out on this modern masterpiece.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Parasite’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent as a whole and offers a sharp, clean and nicely detailed presentation from start to finish, with no noticeable troubles or faults to be found throughout. It holds up wonderfully even during the darkly lit sequences and fast moving moments, never resulting in anything occurring onscreen becoming negatively affected or rendered indiscernible at any point. Overall, this is a top notch high definition presentation from Universal that never falters and looks marvelous every step of the way.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack with the film’s original Korean language track (English subtitles are of course also included). This multichannel soundtrack offers a clean, crisp and at times fairly active audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send music, weather effects and some dialogue, along with more throughout the various speakers whenever fitting and never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it while nicely complimenting the tension and ambience throughout.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Parasite’ includes one noteworthy extra in the way of a ‘Parasite – Fantastic Fest 2019 Q & A with Director Bong Joon Ho’ (running approximately 19 minutes in length). Also included are ‘2 Theatrical Trailers’ for the film (running approximately 4 minutes combined).