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kenmorefield

Parasite (2019)

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This year's Palme d"Or winner has popped up on a few of our festival threads but doesn't yet have its own thread. 

This really isn't my aesthetic, so I wasn't surprised that I was less thrilled by it than some of the ecstatic buzz its been getting, but I was surprised by how little enthusiasm I could muster at all. Both Cindy and I reference Shoplifters in the car on the way home, and the bulk of our conversation was about why we liked Parasite less than other similarly themed movies. 

I also reference Jojo Rabbit just as an aside because I am not totally against mixes of serious ideas and over-the-top comedy or violence. But whereas in Waititi's film I felt the comedy was subordinate to the more serious themes and thus used to accentuate them, here I just felt dissonance. It didn't help that about half way through, I was like, "Okay,...I get the message," and the escalations didn't seem to me to enhance, interrogate, or complicate the message so much as just hammer it home. Cindy called it a "train wreck" film, not to slight the productions but to identify the subject matter/genre, and I totally agreed. I suppose there are other films that lead up to people going off a cliff (metaphorically) that are interesting or meaningful to me, but the thing is, once they do, the fall to earth is the least interesting part of such story arcs....and it just goes on and on. I didn't really care about any of these people.

My friend Gareth said he thought it was the movie Joker was trying to be, and I guess I can see that. In a weird sort of way, the film it reminded me of was Roma ... another critically lauded auteurist masterpiece about intersections of rich and poor that made me long for Rooney Mara's character to wander in from The Social Network and start telling random characters that sometimes the reasons people don't like you is that your being an a--hole. 

Anyhow, as Russ used to say, if there is consensus greatness, it's the critic's job to at least *try* to find it. So I promise not to snipe at the first three people who tell me I'm wrong.

 

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This doesn't play in Asheville till next weekend.  I'm dying to see it.  Up till now, I've hated everything of Bong Joon-ho's that I've seen, so I'm eager to see if this breaks that chain.

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Huh, I found it quite interesting and effective.  My only ding against it (a big one) was in the acting department, where things felt stilted and artificial, especially in the first 30 min or so.  But stylistically, I thought the transition from giddy scam thriller to dark horror thriller worked very well, with the music's transition from airy Classical to emotive, tragic Romantic mirroring this nicely.  And I thought the final 45 min were essential in hammering home the point of the super-rich's indifference to the plight of the poor, and the way in which the poor channel their class resentment into intramural fighting.

Still haven't had a chance to see Jojo Rabbit, alas, but this film made me think of Jordan Peele's last two films as a strong point of comparison.

My full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/11/parasite-social-commentary-that-bites-in-a-brilliant-genre-mashup/

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16 minutes ago, Andrew said:

this film made me think of Jordan Peele's last two films as a strong point of comparison

Absolutely. In my review, I described Parasite as "the premise and empathy of Hirokazu Koreeda’s Shoplifters, but with the genre-defying tone and brash ambition of Jordan Peele’s Us." And the more I've thought about it, the more Parasite parallels the latter rather than the former. I've been put off a bit by Bong Joon-Ho's previous films due to their heavy-handed allegorical approaches, but something about Parasite really worked for me, which was exciting—even as I was watching it, I recognized that this sort of filmmaking was different and fresh, but not inaccessible.

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