subscribe: Posts | Comments

Parasite – Blu-Ray Review

Comments Off on Parasite – Blu-Ray Review

Parasite – Blu-Ray Review

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

Cleverly playing with audience expectations, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is able to work on multiple levels as it explores two different families and how class keeps them isolated in their own worlds. Bong isn’t interested in heroes and villains, instead wanting to present the unique thought processes of those raised within contrasting statures. He plays with the cinematic conventions of rich families and poor people and in a manner that seems to be commenting on not only the South Korean class system, but the world as a whole. The Kim Family and the Park Family are both drawn in compelling ways and our sympathies are unique to each of them. These are all flawed individuals, although Bong likely prefers the audience come to their own conclusions.

The movie plays with genre convention, too. Parasite at first seems almost like a caper in the way the Kims carefully plan how to take advantage of the Parks. However, Bong throws a number of curveballs as secrets are slowly revealed. This really is the kind of movie that needs to be seen as blindly as possible. Bong also balances the tone exceptionally well. There is an element of dark comedy in Parasite and then, like a light switch, things can get incredibly serious in a flash. The actors all deliver strong performances, although the stand-out might be Park So-dam as the clever forger of the Kim clan.

Bong and his production team show an incredible eye and an impressive attention to detail. The fancy Park house is almost a character in its own right, as we get to know every nook and cranny of this place. Director of photography Hong Kyung-pyo invites us along with the Kim Family to explore the building. Every picture frame and piece of furniture feels deliberately chosen. The basement apartment that the Kims reside in also say a lot about those characters and their living conditions. Parasite is one of those films where all of the pieces come together and the final result is monumentally satisfying.

For the Blu-Ray release, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has collaborated with Parasite’s American distributor Neon and it’s an okay, if slightly underwhelming, package. The image quality remains high, with the Park house especially looking lovely on the screen. The sound mix is also well put together. The film is presented with the original Korean track, with English subtitles included. The subtitles could have been a little bigger, though. Only a few bonus features are included. There is a 19 minute Q&A with Bong Joon-ho, recorded at Fantastic Fest. The questions and answers are mostly related to the themes of the film. Bong gives good responses, but more focus on the filmmaking aspect would have been nice. The Blu-Ray also contains two theatrical trailers for the movie.

Parasite is an exceptional film that successfully shows the class divide between the characters and the ways in which the lower-to-middle class have to climb to even get a taste of what the 1% have. And yet, the movie doesn’t paint the wealthy family as bad people at all. One could almost make the argument they’re the most sympathetic characters in the story. While more bonus features would be nice, the North American success of Parasite probably took even Neon by surprise. This film will hopefully be a gateway for many to explore South Korean cinema, including the previous work of Bong Joon-ho.

Stefan Ellison

« Previous Entries Next Entries »