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  • Writer's pictureKaveh Jalinous

Parasite (2019): TIFF Film Review

This review was filed from the Toronto International Film Festival.

A family of four’s search for a strong enough WiFi signal to reach their basement apartment is what launches the latest genre-bending film from acclaimed South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho, PARASITE, but from there, the film takes a leave of its own accord. Filled with consistent humor, plot twists, and genuine moments that make you want to scream out in shock, right from the opening scene with razor sharp dialogue and nothing but extremely dark humor, it is more than completely evident that this film will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before, and on the contrary, nothing you ever will see in cinema, both past and present. Parasite is beautiful, horrifying, and nearly everything in between the two - merely proving that Joon-Ho is one of the best directors working today, and in a broader scale, one of the best directors of all time. It sets the standard that all modern cinema should reach, and it somehow ventures above that very standard. And for that, there’s not much else to say besides “go see this movie.” Regardless, I’m going to try.

Now, usually at this point in the review, I dive into a bare-bones plot of the film I’m reviewing, talking about all the little instances and broader themes mentioned in the physical plot of the movie. Yeah, I’m not going to do that for this review, partly because this movie simply isn’t like other movies that usually grace my eyesight, but also because Parasite is best looked at as an unknown - when the viewer has no idea what they are going to experience, in any sense of the idea, the movie works at its best, encapsulating the viewer’s mind within its opening scenes. Take my word for it and please don’t read or watch anything summarizing the film, because as Joon-Ho stated himself: “don’t reveal the twists, especially from the second half.” Sure, it’s a wacky movie, but you have to let it unfold without any interference, because by the first five minutes, you’ll be hooked. That’s a guarantee.

I think, after many days to contemplate what exactly I witnessed on Friday at 8:30 (although, the movie still haunts my mind as I try to figure it all out), that the most influential and memorable part of Parasite is that it is simply unlike everything else we see these days in the world of cinema. In a field dominated by visual effects, superheroes, and anything Marvel related, here we are with a fresh voice in cinema, telling a story that feels funny, and entirely unreal, to sit down and witness. Right from the opening, the film accelerates as it hurdles itself at lightening speed into a plot that moves insanely quickly, filled with lots of laughs, lots of gasps, and lots of horrified stares along the way. And it all works - not one of the scenes in this 132 minute film feel like they have been added on just to allot a quicker run-time, the film would be incomplete without every single one of these beautifully directed, well written, perfectly acted pieces of visual artwork. And if you think the first act of the film is a whirlwind in itself, just wait until the second act of the movie, because trust me, you are in for an experience. And that, that right there, is what makes “Parasite” such a mastery of cinema, and one of the best films of the decade: it is an experience unlike any other. Not only do you care about every character in the movie, specifically in the four protagonists, you are genuinely excited to see what they do next. There is perfection in the imperfection of Bong Joon-Ho’s masterpiece of world cinema Parasite And if you skipped or skimmed this review, let this be the only phrase you see: go see this movie. Nothing more, nothing less. Because in years from now, when this film goes down in history as a bar to look up to, be confident with the fact that you got to see all the madness happen in real time. Parasite is pure wonder, and I simply can’t wait for the world to experience this film.


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