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Parasite (2019)

Directed by Bong Joon Ho

Written by Han Jin Won, Bong Joon Ho

Starring: Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, Wook-sik Choi, So-dam Park

Ki-taek (Song) is unemployed, as are his wife (Jang) and two grown children (Choi, Park). When they take an interest in the wealthy Park family they begin to see an opportunity to improve their fortunes. Their complicated plan soon brings along unexpected problems.

This film is the latest creation from the visionary director Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer). The screenplay was written by Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won. The cast of the film features Kang-ho Song (Memories of Murder), Hye-jin Jang (Mothers), Woo-sik Choi (Okja), and So-dam Park (The Silenced).

Han Jin Won and Bong Joon Ho did a great job crafting the action and dialogue for this film into something very unique. The characters crafted for the film are complicated and fun. The story starts out as a seemingly harmless comedy that focuses on the struggles of an unemployed Korean family. The characters are like hapless victims of circumstance and poor decision-making. Eventually the tone shifts as the story becomes a bit more like a black comedy. The writing does a great job helping the tone to shift gradually at first and then drastically late in the movie. This helps the final act of the movie to be a shocking and wild ride that’s worth every minute. The film pays off on all of the setups, and nothing is predictable. The dialogue in the movie is strong, working both in the comedic and the dramatic moments. If you’re looking for something fresh, this is the story for you.

The performances from this talented cast are incredible. The actors were asked to adjust and evolve their performances as the tone of the story shifted. The end result are performances that are complex and powerful. The chemistry of the cast is especially important when it came to the performances of Song, Jang, Choi, and Park. The family aspect of their characters needed to feel real for this movie to really work. They pull off the relationships with great success, allowing the emotional moments of the movie to work perfectly. The rest of the cast also does a great job making this a wild ride and a lot of fun to watch.

The production work on this one is top notch. The score, written by Jaeil Jung (Okja) does a lot to aid the tone of the film. This includes making similar adjustments to acknowledge the changing mood of the story. Cinematographer Kyung-pyo Hong (Tae Guk Gi (The Brotherhood of War)) also did great work making this one into something special. The visual tension in this movie was an essential aspect of making this one work. Even in the lighter moments of the story, the visuals hint at a darker undercurrent. From a production standpoint, there’s a lot to like from this one.

This is a movie that takes the road less traveled and comes through with something unique and fascinating. Fans of director Bong Joon Ho definitely need to check this one out. I would also suggest this to fans of black comedies and thrillers. This is a shocking movie at times, so be prepared for anything. After winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes, this might be the early candidate for Best Foreign Language Film. I give this one 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Rating: R

Running Time: 132 Minutes

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