Parasite (2019)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on February 10, 2020 @ tonymacklin.net.

I didn't review Parasite when it first was released. It was on a full boil of enthusiasm elsewhere. I left it percolating. [I had previously written a negative review of Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer (2014).]

Ann Hornaday pretty much has said what I think about Parasite: "Parasite... manages to be an intriguing, if plotty parable..., before it devolved into a Grand Guignol of hyper-stylized violence, leaving a bloody pile of glib dichotomies and muddled morals in its wake."

The film had wild, unadulterated support from reviewers and a deluge of euphoria, which has resulted in the Best Picture Oscar. It was Buster Bong knocking out Tyson Tarantino.

I find myself on the outside looking in. I didn't root for any of the characters in Parasite, nor did I root against any of them. Writer/director Bong Joon-ho treats his characters with ambiguity, ambivalence, and irony. I think if you identify with them, you're in trouble.

Parasite is a rash conglomeration of slander, sewage, and slaughter. It's social commentary about class, human nature, and absurdity. It's a misshapen concoction.

Parasite is a story of how a family of 4 lower-class people by devious means goes to work for a wealthy family of 4. Subterranean elements intrude with spastic results.

The Parasites have Parasites.

I had little problem with Joon-ho winning Best Original Screenplay. I'm a fan of dualities, and Parasite is teeming with them: 2 separate 4-person families, 2 sons, 2 daughters, 2 owners, 2 housekeepers, 2 chauffeurs, 2 basements, 2 times a "ghost" appeared to a young boy, 2 birthday cakes, 2 birthday celebrations, 2 users of Morse Code, and on and on.

Pairs dominate, and pairs divide. But duality does not necessarily make clarity.

As a critic I need Morse Code for "help me."

I think the Iowa caucuses might be baffled.

Will Parasite still be successful in November?

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