Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” (2019) finally hits British cinemas this week after months of sweeping award circuits all across the world, from the Palme d’Or, to most recently, the BAFTAs. It has been a long and painful wait, but it has been worth it. For “Parasite” is one of the best films to grace the twenty first century. It is a masterclass of virtually all filmmaking realms. But where it shines brightest is in its commentary as a scathing critique of modern capitalism.
his year as Bong Joon-ho's widely praised film “Parasite” received six nominations from the Academy – including Best Picture and Best Director – but was snubbed entirely from the acting categories, despite the praise the ensemble has received from critics and audiences. Most of Bong Joon-ho's films are driven by large, ensemble casts. But in this “Should’ve Been a Contender” series, I’d like to submit one of his few films carried by one, singular woman at its centre; Kim Hye-ja in the 2009 murder-mystery/drama, “Mother”.
While Bong’s films are often very funny affairs, “Parasite” is his first outright comedy since 2000 debut “Barking Dogs Never Bite”. This is a pitch-black farce that frequently becomes a delightful caper – albeit one whose heroes have ineffably murky methods. You love to root against the Park couple: Yeon-kyo (Jo Yeo-jong) is a prim-and-proper lady and Dong-ik (Lee Sun-kyun) is a suave tech executive, but in reality they’re disgusted by the slightest bit of the real world.