Parasite (2019) Review

Parasite (2019) (기생충, 寄生蟲, gisaengchung, kisaengch’ung)

Directed by Bong Joon-ho

Starring: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Lee Jung-eun, Chang Hyae-jin

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Parasite stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, and Park So-dam, and follows the members of a poor household who scheme to become employed by a wealthy family by infiltrating the household and posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals.

My Opinion:

After a year of hearing everyone raving over this on Twitter, the UK is FINALLY getting the chance to see it today. I was beyond excited & extremely happy to see it two weeks early with my cinema membership. It’s a very good film. But is it a masterpiece as so many are claiming? I hate how any halfway decent current film gets declared a damn masterpiece. Let a movie age a bit! See if it stands the test of time. Will Parasite be a “masterpiece” 20 years from now? I’m not sure about that but I think it’ll always be a well respected film. I expected this to be my favorite Best Picture Oscar nominee as I love foreign films. It might be my favorite but in some ways I think Joker is a better film despite people whining about it (although Parasite is far more “me” than a Scorsese-wannabe comic book movie). Okay, yes – Parasite is probably my favorite Best Picture nominee this year… I admit it’s grown on me over the past two weeks.

Despite the hype, I didn’t go into a Parasite with really high expectations as I’ve not loved any of Bong Joon-ho’s work that I’ve seen. Although the concept for Snowpiercer was amazing, the film was a bit of a mess. Okja was mostly just annoying as, with Snowpiercer as well, the characters were so unpleasant & ridiculous (especially Swinton & Gyllenhaal). I think I may have actually enjoyed his film The Host the most as I like a decent monster movie & the young girl in it was really good (and one of the only Bong Joon-ho characters to not be hateful in some way). However, as much as I hate hateful characters (which is why I suppose I haven’t gotten on with his work), they work perfectly for Parasite. I mean, it’s a social satire & the whole point of the film. Actually, these are probably his least hateful movie characters as the bad in each of them is far more subtle & none of them are the ridiculous Swinton-type caricatures. Everyone is flawed in some way, making them feel more real (we’re all flawed). You feel both sympathy & repulsion for every character at various points in the film.

I do think Parasite is a clever film with far deeper characters than we’ve had in Bong Joon-ho’s other work (that I’ve seen) & I understand some of the hype. It’s certainly his best film & I did enjoy the strange mix of genres, especially the dark humor. I was just hoping I might love Parasite. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a new movie that I know will be an all-time favorite of mine. Parasite is a very good film but I doubt I’ll ever watch it again. I respect it. It’s well-written, it looks fantastic (it’s too bad I’m doing a short review so don’t have many images from the film as there are some great shots), and the acting is very good. But there are loads of foreign films I’ve thought were much better that didn’t get this same level of acclaim. Still, I’m happy to see a foreign film getting so much attention & hope that maybe it will open more people up to the idea of checking out some non-English language movies.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Train To Busan (2016) Review

Train To Busan (부산행, 釜山行, Busanhaeng)

Directed by Yeon Sang-ho

Starring: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok,Jung Yu-mi, Kim Su-an, Kim Eui-sung, Choi Woo-shik, Ahn So-hee

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Train to Busan is a 2016 South Korean zombie apocalyptic action thriller film. The film takes place on a train to Busan, as a zombie apocalypse suddenly breaks in the country and compromises the safety of the passengers.

My Opinion:

Happy Halloween! This is my final movie review for October Horror Month & I’ll post a recap later ranking all 32 horror movies I’ve watched in the past year. I’m ending with Train To Busan as it was my favorite horror that I saw this year. Well, that I saw at home – there’s one I saw in the cinema that I’ve ranked as number one.

So why was this movie so good? More than anything, it was the characters. How many times does it need to be said that we need characters we actually give a shit about if we’re meant to care if they survive or not? Why do so few horror movies bother to spend any time developing their characters? I’m not saying Train To Busan was perfect but we got to know the main characters really well and there was just enough time spent on several of the lesser characters too, making for a much more enjoyable (and intense) experience for the audience.

Yes, this is another “apocalyptic zombie film” and we’ve had loads of these in the last several years. However, this is a genre I’ve adored ever since falling in love with Romero’s original Dawn Of The Dead a good twenty years ago & I have yet to tire of these films. As long as they’re done right, that is. There are too many shit ones lately. Train To Busan is done right and I highly recommend it, even if you’re getting sick of zombie movies.


I know this is my last review of the month but I’m going to keep it short due to lack of time but, also, there’s not much more that I can say about this movie. The story, set mostly on a train (believe it or not!), is just original enough to feel like a somewhat fresh take on the zombie thing. The action moves along at a nice pace and the gore is at the right level (nothing overboard or extreme). And, most importantly, we get to know the characters and want to see them survive this sudden plague. Mainly: a father & his young daughter and a man & his pregnant wife. I loved seeing these strangers come together while trying to survive this violent outbreak. I’m so glad I finally got the opportunity to see this one and I hope that more people will check it out. It’s a good human story that I think even those who don’t necessarily love horror films might like.

My Rating: 8.5/10