Author Topic: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)  (Read 3540 times)

Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« on: December 17, 2019, 12:30:07 PM »
Currently #1 on Letterboxd as the best-rated narrative feature OF ALL TIME. It recently overtook The Godfather Pt. II and nearly half of the people who have seen it rated it 5 out of 5. Won the Palme D'or too.



The basic story is that a family of unemployed grifters all con their way into jobs with a wealthy family, but it then goes wrong. That's as much as I'll say because I think it needs to be seen with as little spoiled as possible. Then probably seen again to see how it was all put together.

Saw this last night at Odeon Screen Unseen as a preview (it'll be out here early next year) and was impressed. It's a good mix of drama, comedy, satire, and suspense/thriller (never goes fully into a horror mode) that's trying to have a bit of a pop at capitalism in the mix.

It's not the best narrative feature of all time, but it feels almost objectively good. Tightly plotted, well-acted, a fairly original conceit, some references to classic works (reminded me a little of La Regle de Jeu, Psycho, 3-Iron, and Underground) here and there without being anything other than itself. My only complaints were nitpicks that I'll sit on until it's out there and you get to see it.

Anyone else seen it or planning to?

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2019, 12:42:25 PM »
There's a fair bit of discussion of it here: https://www.cookdandbombd.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,73978.0.html

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2019, 01:04:14 PM »
bollocks I did a search and EVZ

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2019, 06:07:03 PM »
It is really good, the director's best since Memories of Murder. But it's not that good that the amount of attention and praise it has garnered isn't a surprise. Lee Chang-dong's Burning was another one that surprised me in that regard. In the case of that film, I actually felt it was weaker than his previous work but yet it has been logged on letterboxd 10 times more than any of them.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2019, 11:36:15 PM »
It’s good, but like some of you I’m a bit unsure why it’s reached such instant classic status. My wife declared it one of her favourite films ever once we were done with it, so I suppose something about it really appeals to a lot of people. For me it was a fun and very well-made film, but not leagues above other films even from Joon-ho Bong’s own back catalogue.

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2019, 11:46:53 PM »
not trash but overrated af, like most korean films really

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2019, 11:49:24 PM »
It is really good, the director's best since Memories of Murder.

On that subject, is there such a thing as a Region B Blu-ray of that film? I can only find it on DVD, or foreign Blu-rays that won't play in my player or don't have english subs.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2019, 06:39:39 AM »
I watched it on the plane and really enjoyed it, I would say it suffered with its length. It was an original plot, but the last chapter was too stretched. Still he's a great director and the cast was stellar.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2019, 09:37:39 AM »
Does anyone know if the story in this film has any personal significance to Bong? He's not usually a chap who puts any autobiographical details into his work (that I know of), but there was something about the state of the tragic father at the end that (well, metaphorically) seemed to resonate truth.

I've liked other Bong films better. Memories of a Murder is a good update on that genre, and when I saw him ditch the usual Spielberg toolkit in The Host and have the monster run around full view in broad daylight right at the start I knew he was a bro.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2019, 12:26:45 PM »
The Host is arguably the best monster film of the 2000's.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2019, 02:04:31 PM »
Waiting to see this in a cinema, I'm expecting it to be good but kind of crushed by the levels of hype. I tend to err slightly more negatively towards his films than the general consensus too.

Lee Chang-dong's Burning was another one that surprised me in that regard. In the case of that film, I actually felt it was weaker than his previous work but yet it has been logged on letterboxd 10 times more than any of them.
Think this was a lot to do with how well received his previous films were. It seems to play a part with a lot of directors in this particular era where their previous films was exposed to a far smaller audience and there's almost a need to hype the fuck out of their latest quite good film as if to anoint them with "one of the best directors in the world" status. Some of the reviews for Burning are prolly also bolstered a bit by the excitement that he's apparently got 2 or 3 other films that are possibly even better to still check out.

With Lee Chang Dong its doubly so cos his only film in the streaming era before this was a slow paced thing about an old woman, kind of thing that gets easily ignored. You could kind of see it with Koreeda and Shoplifters too, with basically all of his best films since Nobody Knows being very slight things, the first really good one that had a bit more going on than "sad family accept loss" was gonna get a ton more attention.

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2020, 02:37:26 PM »
I just watched it yesterday. I think it was fantastic - and I think it tries and succeeds in having a pop at capitalism - and the performances were pretty uniformly brilliant too.

Maybe the bit where they were squatting in the richies' house could have been five minutes shorter? But it's the only criticism I have.

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2020, 08:41:38 PM »
Seen this this evening. Very good film. Great? I'm not sure; will need time to let it settle.

Worked as both a blackly comic thriller and a morally ambiguous, thought-provoking satire, and had brilliant performances all round, not to mention gorgeous imagery and direction. It was maybe a bit overlong, though.

Maybe the bit where they were squatting in the richies' house could have been five minutes shorter? But it's the only criticism I have.

Hmm, I thought that the scene where the family were eating together was a really key moment: up to that point it's been a taut, fun thriller, building the plot as each successive family member wangles themselves a position in the household. That scene, though, opens it all up plotwise and emotionally, giving us much more of a look at what's behind their acts.
I did think that the ensuing farce after the Parks returned home was a bit clichéd and unnecessary. That bit could have been cut to get the length below two hours and give us a more streamlined film.

I did think overall that one weakness - perhaps deliberate, but a misjudgment if so - was that we never got much of a sense of who the family really were, apart maybe from "Kevin", while the rich family they took advantage of were, interestingly, much better drawn and more directly engaging. But the result was that the final section was a bit underpowered: Kim's breakdown, triggered by comments about his smell, and his daughter's death, lacked the impact they might have had had we got more of an impression of the person behind the mask.

It's easy to see why it gets compared to Shoplifters: East Asian film about a poor family and the unusual steps they take to get by. Darker and not as human, though. While Shoplifters felt like a culmination for Kore-Eda, though, I've not actually seen any of Bong's films before, and this seems quite a departure given what I know of his others. Are they as good as this? I know The Host is supposed to be a great monster movie but I'm not much of a monster movie guy.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2020, 10:44:47 PM »
Watch The Host it's bloody great, the family dynamic in that can be seen in Parasite not just because of the lead actor, it's a monster movie but not as you know it, the dark humour and performances are top notch.

Okja on the other hand was just eh to me, it was totally all over the place trying to be American and Korean at the same time.

Memories of Murder is my favourite SK film, one of my favourite films in general.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2020, 06:52:57 AM »
Forgive me if I’ve skimmed over something, but am I alone I’m thinking the ending[1] was where it really let itself down? It had all these ideas, countless ways you could interpret the scenarios allegorically, satirically, metaphorically etc. but virtually none of them really came to anything substantial. As such, while I was enjoying it greatly, I left it thinking it had only been “pretty decent” rather than “great”.
 1.  i.e. once it got birthday party murdery

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2020, 08:09:16 AM »
Forgive me if I’ve skimmed over something, but am I alone I’m thinking the ending[1] was where it really let itself down? It had all these ideas, countless ways you could interpret the scenarios allegorically, satirically, metaphorically etc. but virtually none of them really came to anything substantial. As such, while I was enjoying it greatly, I left it thinking it had only been “pretty decent” rather than “great”.
 1.  i.e. once it got birthday party murdery

I thought that the climactic "incident" was a bit of a letdown, but it was hard to think of any other way it could have gone really: things were going to come to a head. I didn't really buy Kim snapping and murdering Park as I felt that the character build to his breakdown (he got annoyed at them commenting on his smell but come on, the guy had spent the night wading through sewage and not fucking washed) was pretty token and underdeveloped, but I did like the postscript, which was touching and, in its brief glimpse of a fantasy future, showed a more human side to the avarice and selfishness the film satirised.

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2020, 10:35:37 AM »
I watched a ton of 2018/19 Chinese, Korean and Japanese films over the Xmas break and I would say that this just about made the top 5. It might be my film taste preferences but I thought it was brilliantly made, with an interesting story and well-observed characters, but for me it isn't quite as satisfying as Burning, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Shoplifters, Ash is Purest White, The Farewell (yes, a co-US prod), So Long, My Son, etc.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2020, 10:43:39 AM »
not seen Long Day's Journey yet but his film Kaili Blues is a good watch.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2020, 11:04:27 AM »
I thought him snapping was fine. It wasn't just the "smell" comments, just the general way they were looked down on, and then when he was expected to help the family rather than his own was the las straw

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2020, 11:35:47 AM »
not seen Long Day's Journey yet but his film Kaili Blues is a good watch.

He really does imhabit that area - telling stories from a largely ignored region, similar (I think) to someone like Shane Meadows or Guy Maddin. My brother lives in Singapore so he sends me shitloads of DVDs from Asia, and he goes to China a lot with his partner who is Singa-Chinese. Long Day's Journey into Night is very much an extension of Kaiki Blues, although it is a more disorientating experience.

Also, it is crammed with Tarkovsky refererences!

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2020, 02:59:10 PM »
I watched a ton of 2018/19 Chinese, Korean and Japanese films over the Xmas break and I would say that this just about made the top 5. It might be my film taste preferences but I thought it was brilliantly made, with an interesting story and well-observed characters, but for me it isn't quite as satisfying as Burning, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Shoplifters, Ash is Purest White, The Farewell (yes, a co-US prod), So Long, My Son, etc.

Have you seen An Elephant Sitting Still? One of my favourite films of all time. I saw a Singaporean film called Wet Season last week, which was pretty good too.

Thought Parasite was good, but not great. I would've preferred it if it ended in a crazy bloodbath at the garden party. Would've made a leaner and meaner film. Didn't really like the magical realism elements (not sure what else to call it?) when they discover the man living under the cellar, and so on.

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2020, 03:15:38 PM »
Have you seen An Elephant Sitting Still? One of my favourite films of all time. I saw a Singaporean film called Wet Season last week, which was pretty good too.

Yes! I should included it but it slipped my mind - quite an achievement and also terribly sad. Wet Season I do not know - I liked Anthony Chen's Ilo Ilo so I'm not sure how I missed this! Many thanks.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2020, 04:03:14 PM »
Yes! I should included it but it slipped my mind - quite an achievement and also terribly sad. Wet Season I do not know - I liked Anthony Chen's Ilo Ilo so I'm not sure how I missed this! Many thanks.

It was easy to miss! I was looking at the listings in Singapore one day and noticed it. I thought it must be a preview, but it seemed it had been showing for a while, with little publicity. Odd. I preferred it to Ilo Ilo, which I also liked.

Back to Parasite!


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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2020, 01:26:20 PM »
Forgive me if I’ve skimmed over something, but am I alone I’m thinking the ending[1] was where it really let itself down? It had all these ideas, countless ways you could interpret the scenarios allegorically, satirically, metaphorically etc. but virtually none of them really came to anything substantial. As such, while I was enjoying it greatly, I left it thinking it had only been “pretty decent” rather than “great”.
 1.  i.e. once it got birthday party murdery

Exactly my thoughts. Decent but nothing special.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2020, 06:00:35 AM »
What a fucking joke. Parasite DENIED the award for Best Production Design.

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2020, 07:15:16 AM »
The Oscars mean nothing to me personally but I'm thrilled for Bong Joon-Ho. Mother, The Host, Memories Of Murder and Parasite are all top-tier films in my estimation so it's nice to see him be recognised on a platform where I would never have thought he'd get a chance.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #26 on: February 10, 2020, 09:51:12 AM »
The Oscars mean nothing to me personally but I'm thrilled for Bong Joon-Ho. Mother, The Host, Memories Of Murder and Parasite are all top-tier films in my estimation so it's nice to see him be recognised on a platform where I would never have thought he'd get a chance.

And recognised like no-one since Walt Disney in 1953!  That apparently was the last time someone won four awards in one ceremony.

Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #27 on: February 10, 2020, 10:25:58 AM »
The Oscars mean nothing to me personally but I'm thrilled for Bong Joon-Ho. Mother, The Host, Memories Of Murder and Parasite are all top-tier films in my estimation so it's nice to see him be recognised on a platform where I would never have thought he'd get a chance.

Agreed, the majority of people will still turn their nose up at "foreign muck", but I'm happy the cast and crew will feel great about the wins.

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2020, 10:43:46 AM »
Agreed, the majority of people will still turn their nose up at "foreign muck", but I'm happy the cast and crew will feel great about the wins.

Absolutely, I really can't remember the last time I was pleased by the result of the best picture award, and hope everyone involved is over the moon.

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Re: Parasite (2019, Joon-ho Bong)
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2020, 12:38:09 PM »
I haven't seen Parasite, and I'm not much of a fan of Bong or the Korean new-wave (just not my cup of tea), BUT I'm ecstatic that Parasite has won so many top-tier Oscars instead of the usual bland Driving Miss Daisy dramas.

Unfortunately these monumental wins now seem to be getting lost amid the news about lack of Oscars diversity again.

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