Sometimes all you need for the perfect midweek pick-me-up is streaming service access and some nimble decision-making skills. While the former is easy enough to come by (or steal from your mates), the latter requirement can feel like a downright chore. From the genre-picking to the endless scrolling, picking the right movie is an unnecessary time-waster on a chilly Wednesday night. So, we’ve cut out the middle man once again with another round of Executive Decision. Arriving somewhat late to the game given its impeccably high quality, this week we’re suggesting Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 masterpiece Parasite.
An unexpected critical and commercial success, Parasite tells the genre-less story of the impoverished Kim family, who – in pursuing the chance to make some extra coin- hatch a devious plan to infiltrate the much wealthier (but less clever) Parks family. You’d think a plot like this could really only go one way, but you’d be mistaken. So without giving too much away, we’ve compiled a list of five reasons you should watch Parasite tonight.
These days, almost every film can be considered a combination of genres, and usually, this only amounts to a measly romantic-comedy or psychological drama. In contrast, Parasite has its feet in so many genres that it’d be easier to name what it isn’t. Mostly a thriller, Joon-ho masterfully keeps audiences at the edge of their seats, but Parasite is also wickedly funny, poignantly dramatic and everything in between. Equally ambiguous are the film’s characters, and Joon-ho completely ignores common archetypes for the dual families, who are both heroic and villainous all the same. What’s most satisfying is how all these grey areas are somehow blended with ease for the ultimate movie experience.
Parasite has broken records that no other foreign language film has. In 2019, it became the first ever South Korean movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture; a precedent immediately upped when Joon-ho took home the trophy for Best Director. Parasite’s success in what was an overstuffed Oscars year is nothing to scoff at, with the unconventional winner managing to beat out the usual blockbuster-fodder of a superhero origin story in Joker. Proving to also be a trend-setter, Parasite set the stage for this year’s nomination of Korean film Minari, and if these films are anything to go by, then it’s high time to hear more diverse directorial voices in cinema.
Box office and critical success is one thing, but praise from fellow big name directors is another. After it’s release, Parasite received support from some of Hollywood’s most celebrated filmmakers including Ben Safde of Uncut Gems, Ari Aster of Midsommar, and in what must have been Joon-ho biggest win of all, a personal letter from one Martin Scorsese. If all these cinephiles have added Parasite to their watchlists, who are you to keep it off yours?
While it dances around genres, Parasite remains steady in its take on classism and wealth disparity. There’s a tonne of easter eggs and metaphors used to decipher these themes, and the result is a movie that definitely warrants a re-watch with more investigative eyes. While movie-goers may disagree on what exactly that rock symbolises, this makes the thematic experience all the more compelling.
“I will drink until next morning.” If we ever won an Oscar, we probably would too. After winning his, Bong Joon-ho was gracious enough to shoutout his fellow nominees in a speech that introduced many people around the world the the humble director: