Movie Review: Parasite

Parasite is a movie I’d been looking forward to seeing for quite a while. I’d heard so much about it, although in hindsight, it might have raised a red flag that while I’d heard a lot about the movie, I’d heard next to nothing as to what it was about, if that makes sense.

Denisa and I finished it yesterday. There were definitely things to like about the film, but overall I found it . . .overrated. Seriously overrated. I don’t think this movie would be making a splash at all if it weren’t for the fact that it’s foreign and somehow the snowball effect has taken over, so that people are talking about it as a phenomenon, and not as an actual film. (Though full disclaimer, I also really disliked Snowpiercer, the director’s earlier flash in the pan film, so perhaps I just don’t like his style.)

The film focuses on the story of a family of con men who turn their focus to a rich family across town, slowly taking over various servant positions in their household without letting on that they’re all related. And then things take a big zig to the left, but I won’t get into that right now. It’s definitely funny in parts, tense in others, and bewildering in more.

Why didn’t I really like it? It meandered, for one thing. It had no real central “oomph” to the story. I had a hard time relating to any of the characters, which (again) might be due to a lack of cultural understanding on my part. Perhaps if I were more familiar with South Korean norms and social structure, more of this would have made sense. But a movie shouldn’t have to rely on those to really zing. (Similarly, I’m sure I would have liked Once Upon a Time in Hollywood even more if I were more up to speed on all the references Tarantino kept throwing in, but the movie still worked well without that knowledge. That’s not the case here.)

I found the plot haphazard, the acting so-so, the ultimate conflicts contrived. It’s the #26 movie on IMDB right now? How? Why? I found nothing in it to warrant it getting such rave reviews. It’s a glorified art house movie, and I feel like this one’s a real case of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

Was it bad? I’m still kind of on the fence on that one. There were pieces of good things in it. It certainly wasn’t predictable, but neither is a rabid pit bull. Lack of predictability doesn’t make something good. In the end, I think I’d give it a 3/10. (Remember, a 5/10 for me is neutral. It’s a movie I sat through and just sort of . . . experienced. Didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it. Lukewarm.) Parasite had things that I liked. Parts that I was really engaged in, and for that, it doesn’t get a lower rating. But taken as a whole, I didn’t really enjoy it. I have no desire to watch it again. No desire to recommend it to anyone.

And I’ll be really disappointed if it lurches its way out of the Oscars with any awards in hand.


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