Oscars Challenge #64: Parasite (2019) Movie Review
The Academy Award Best Picture winners during the 2010s contain some of the worst and the best that the award-giving body offers. Winners like Argo, The Artist, or Green Book have shown us that the Oscars are not all about delivering the best movies of the year but also some of the worst ones. Meanwhile, 12 Years A Slave and Birdman could be one of the best.
But if we want the Academy to award the best film of the year, then we shouldn't just be looking at Hollywood or British films. Not all great films came from Hollywood. Some may be in the deepest parts of the earth, and we don't notice.
2019 came with a bomb when Bong Joon-Ho, a South Korean director, came up with an idea to turn the Oscars around and maybe change many of the members' perspectives. Premiered first at the Cannes Festival and won the Palme d'Or, the highest prize, his movie, Parasite, shook a couple of heads that maybe it's time to recognize films from other countries as well.
The movie is about a third-class family, the Kims, who live in a semi-basement flat in Seoul. They have low-income jobs that help them sustain enough for their living expenses. They are a family of four: Kim Ki-Taek, the father; Chung-Sook, the mother; Kim Ki-woo, the son; and Kim Ki-jung, the daughter.
After being tipped by Ki-woo's friend to let him pose as an English tutor for the wealthy Park family, the perspectives of their lives changed. With the help of Ki-Jung's photoshop skills, she was able to fabricate a fake identification for him to infiltrate the family successfully. He got hired as a tutor to the Park's daughter, Park Da-Hye.
Not enough, the Kim family decided also to let the daughter infiltrate the Park family by posing as an art tutor to their son, Da-Song. Soon even, both Ki-Taek and Chung-Sook were hired by the family. As they comfortably live in a wealthy household, they realize that the former maid the mother replaced hides a secret in their home. They discover they are not the ones who thought of taking advantage of the wealthy and naive Park family.
Parasite turned some Academy heads, making those Hollywood-biased members vote for a South Korean movie bombshell.
If there's a film that masterfully engineers the beauty of the cinematography, Parasite should be at the top of the list. It has so many magnificent shots that showcase the symbolism between the Kim and Park families. For example, when they first arrive at the Park household, you can see that the house is elevated with so many stairways. It makes you think that the family's power is obtained through their enormous wealth and look down on poor people. At the same time, during the rain and flood scene, the Kim family hurriedly goes home but must go down many stairs before arriving at their flat, which is already flooded. It makes you think about their standing in society as third-class citizens who need to navigate their way to the comfort of their homes.
Parasite had some revolving themes about the nature of Capitalism. Like a natural parasite, the Kim family infiltrated and took advantage of the Park family. The Park's also took advantage by leaving all the hard work to the poor working-class citizens so that they could sit and sleep comfortably in their big homes. Combining this perspective with the beauty of the cinematography, Parasite truly is one of those films that should be seen or taught in film schools.
The plot of the movie is another thing to behold. It's both unique and shocking. It felt like the Best Picture award was the perfect icing on the cake for Bong Joon-Ho's legacy and the Academy, which many felt like they were awarding undeserving films.
Parasite also showcases the beauty of having a back-and-forth characterization by having no definite protagonists and antagonists. It leaves the decision to the audience on who deserves to be heroes and villains.
This movie has a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It shows the beauty this film has to offer with its unique storyline and technicalities.
Parasite has been viewed as one of the best films of all time. In the latest edition of the Sight and Sound poll for the greatest movie of all time, Parasite is ranked 90, just a tad below Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
This film is an essential watch because it has a beautiful story and cinematography and because you will learn a lot while watching it.
A perfect 5 out of 5 stars.