By Manuel Martinez (Rogers, AR)
“Believe the Hype!”
Every once in a while, there is a movie that I just have to watch because there is a lot of commotion around it. Parasite, was the most frequent victim which seemed to be generating all the buzz. I was reading reviews about it online trying to figure out what it was about. I began to look for it in theaters around me but found none; this was due to it initially having a limited theatrical release. This of course is a common practice for studios, so it can qualify for certain nominations like: Academy Award, Golden Globes and many others. Finally, after two months of waiting it was available online on Amazon prime. It was annoying that it had took this long to finally see this incredible so-called film. Despite the buzz circulating, I had not even watched one of the film trailers since it was recommended that it would be a better experience going into it with minimal knowledge. The only negative thing I read online was that it was a foreign movie which resulted in it needing English subtitles. I tended to be someone who avoided these types of films because it might ruin the magic of visually and verbally experiencing it rather than reading it, but I have since changed my perspective. After experiencing the film firsthand, I was not disappointed and was left in awe. Parasite, for me would be described as a dark drama which takes place in Korea and shows the overall difference among classes of wealth. Through the eyes of this family – who is poor or rather at the lower end of the social hierarchy – that ends up invading the life of this wealthy family; hence the title of the film.
Generally, the top three things that I believe make a movie memorable or successful are the following: the storyline, the acting, and the ending. The storyline probably being the most important since without a story the movie is doomed to fail. I mean that is mostly in a nutshell what a movie is supposed to encompass, right? The acting is another contribution to the film’s success. We do not want clumsy characters that do not know how to act, this is something that dissuades my interest and makes me want to stop watching it. Then, the ending is equally important because this will be the last impression or impact the film would have on the audience. This makes the ending responsible for leaving the viewer either wanting more or leaving the viewer with a sense that they got their money’s worth.
Parasite ended up exceeding expectations and was a phenomenal movie. In my perspective, the above-mentioned criteria made the movie memorable to me. Beginning with the storyline this was the main foundation for the movie success in my opinion. It was something new, not the same old generic story line we are all too familiar with. This of course being the Hollywood drama story line between the hero and villain movies. Boring! This storyline is just too common now and not appealing as it once was; to me at least. Not Parasite though, this storyline was new and dynamic, something that I have never seen before. It kept me on the edge of my seat, predicting what was to come next and then “Bang!”, another twist I was not ready for. The director also kept adding little details which kept the audience, including myself, foreshadowing what was to come next; starting off with that clever title. Then the acting was magnificent, not once did I think there was a moment where it failed to impress. The actors really sold what they were portraying in the film and I think the audience felt that connection with their performance. Especially when the film first starts, and we see this poor, lower-class family struggling to make ends meet and after a while we soon discover that they are not all who they seem to be as they infiltrate the unsuspecting family. Literally like a parasite taking over the host. Finally, the ending of the film met my expectations since it left me wanting more like seeing a prequel of the movie if it had one. I wanted more and wanted some questions answered. The film actually let me fully immerse myself in it like I was there in person watching this whole story unravel; following this family in third person.
Although, the film did meet all of these requirements, I would have done things a little different or taken a slightly different approach on the storyline. I would have kept everything the same until the end of the film. Right after the climax of finally figuring out the whole plot that this family was not at all what they seemed and had the old nanny and her husband captive. I would have changed how they go about revealing themselves to the wealthy family. It just seemed so rushed and I got a sense that there is no way it would have happened the way it did, making it unrealistic to me. Although it seems the director may have done this to be dramatic and add suspense, I would have taken a different approach. What I did not like was how the characters took these falls or hits, seemingly life-ending, then out of nowhere they end up sleeping it off and continue as if nothing had happened to them. Some examples of this were seen when the old nanny falls down the steps and ends up hitting her head against the cement wall super hard which seemed to be bad enough to expect her to die due to the impact. Another example was when the college kid of the poor family gets hit in the head with what appears to be a boulder or a rock which should have broken his skull or killed him on impact. This is where I would have slightly changed it by writing off the son and daughter, while allowing the never-ending cycle of the mother and father living in the secret underground department to continue. This to me would have transitioned perfectly for next prequel of the movie.
Overall, the movie did exceed my, already super high, expectations, regardless of the ending I would have preferred. Even though this film has a reliance on subtitles, I would not let this factor be the reasoning behind not experiencing this film for yourself. Do not just hear it from me but if that does not full convince you to watch this film maybe it may be the rating which it has received on rotten tomatoes: ratings received by critics was 99% and the audience gave it a 90%. If you are still not convinced then maybe the multiple awards this film has won may help you decide, starting with the four Oscar awards, the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and the many others this film so rightfully received. To conclude, in the most appropriate way, spoken by the director, Bong Joon-Ho, himself at the Golden Globes, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”