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Don’t bother reading this review, just go see ‘Parasite’ at FilmScene

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Park So-dam and Choi Woo-shik play a brother-sister con-artist duo in ‘Parasite.’ — film still

I want to gush about Parasite, which opens at FilmScene—The Chauncey today, but it’s one of those movies where the less you know going in, the better. Still, while you’re here, I think there are a few things I can say about Bong Joon-ho’s latest masterpiece that will, hopefully, entice you to go see it and have the mind-boggling experience I did, without diminishing that experience for you.

Parasite is a Thanksgiving feast of a film, except your uncle didn’t overcook the turkey, your sister didn’t forget the pumpkin pie and rather than awkward dinner-table chatter, you get to enjoy it surrounded by the laughs, gasps and awed sighs of your fellow audience members. This meal of a movie is meaty, spicy, sweet — just a well-rounded experience that leaves you satisfied, yet eager for another taste.

• This is a South Korean film from one of the country’s foremost directors (Bong is famous for his social satires and risk-taking films that deftly maneuver between genres). I have never more wished I could speak Korean than while watching Parasite — not because the subtitles are burdensome to read, because they’re not, but I wanted to train my eyes directly on the faces of the performers as they delivered every line. The acting is phenomenal, the characters equally so. There are no heroes, no villains, but everyone onscreen is intriguing.

• There are three super cute dogs!

• This film is genuinely funny, thrilling and thought-provoking, particularly regarding issues of family, class and the deification of wealth.

Cho Yeo-jeong and Song Kang-ho play unemployed parents unafraid to bend the rules in ‘Parasite.’ — film still

• Most scenes are filmed in two locations: a dingy, lower-class neighborhood of semi-basement residences, and a gorgeous architectural mansion, luxurious and clean and clinical, with a yard so green and sunny, it’s surreal. They make for enticing settings, and set up some beautiful, haunting shots.

• One of the characters keeps saying, “This is so metaphorical,” which is basically how I watch movies.

Parasite unanimously won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, the highest honor at one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals.

• It has a 99 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It also has a 4.6 rating on Letterboxd — making it tied with The Godfather as the highest-rated narrative film on the site — with 47 percent, or nearly 43,000 viewers, giving it five stars out of five.

• I heard all this hype before I saw Parasite, so while I was excited to see it for myself, I was prepared for the likelihood that it would not live up to my expectations. I needn’t have been; it instantly became my favorite film of the year. And not to brag or anything, but I’ve spent, like, half the year sitting in movie theaters. (Maybe I should go for a walk this weekend….)

• There’s a good dose of food porn in this. I left the theater craving ram-don and plum tea, neither of which I’ve had before.

• As soon as the screen faded to black at the end, the woman behind me at FilmScene’s early-bird screening let out what seemed to be a involuntary “WOW.” Like, same.

Lee Sun-kyun and Cho Yeo-jeong portray the Parks, a rich couple all too reliant on their service staff. — film still

• Many of the non-critic Twitter and Letterboxd reactions to Parasite discuss driving 50, 100, 200 miles to catch a screening of this already-legendary foreign film. We are blessed to have it in our own backyard. Don’t take it for granted! Get thee to FilmScene!

• Yes, there’s a possibility I’m “over-hyping” this movie; there’s a chance you won’t enjoy it as much as I and others have. But I can all but promise it’s worth the cost of a ticket, and the risk that you might have one of your best movie-watching experiences of the year (or ever).

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• I shan’t risk saying more. You can watch this trailer, I guess — the trailer alone is stellar — but I’d honestly recommend just heading straight and clean to the theater as soon as you can. I’ll see you in the concessions line.

Check the FilmScene website for showtimes for Parasite, as well as at least three other fabulous and awards-buzzy films: The Lighthouse, Jojo Rabbit and The Report.


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