To say that a foreign film that plays in movie theaters and that appeals to the masses is something of a unicorn is an understatement. Even last year’s Roma, with all of its Oscar nominations and hype, was not a movie many cared to see in theaters (or on Netflix for that matter). It played in only a handful of theaters around the country, (without Netflix releasing box office numbers), for three weeks before it launched on Netflix, and most showings played to virtually empty auditoriums.
The foreign films that come to mind that were films that Americans wanted to see in theaters, and that made a lot of money in theaters during the past 40 years, include Jean De Florette, Cinema Paradiso, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Pan’s Labyrinth, Amelie and Life Is Beautiful. Jean De Florette and Cinema Paradiso each played in theaters for over two years upon their initial release, since they were both released before the advent of streaming and DVD.
Parasite, the little film that can, from NEON, can be added to the list of foreign films that the masses around the world have embraced and want to see on the big screen, and for good reason.
Not only is Parasite a film that will most likely earn a treasure trove of Oscar nominations (big ones, like Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, and maybe even some acting nominations), it is a film that took in over $100 million elsewhere around the world before it was released in the United States.
Parasite is a South Korean masterpiece from director Joon-ho Bong who astonished audiences previously with Snowpiercer (released in theaters in 2013) and Okja, (direct to Netflix in 2017). And Parasite is unlike anything you have ever seen.
Your mind will not only be blown halfway through the film, but you will be talking about the film for a long, long time.
But what is about, you ask? To give much away would be spoiling the dinner, if you will. Parasite is a fine dining experience that will appeal not only to people who prefer Michelin rated restaurants but also to those who only like casual restaurants and fast food.
Parasite tells the story of a college age brother and sister who are from a very poor family in South Korea who become tutors for the grade school children of a very rich family. The brother and sister figure out a way to get their mother and father jobs for the rich family, as well, maid and chauffeur, respectively. The family whom they are all employed by, however, have no idea that their new help are all related. In South Korea, even today, most people who are hired as household help are from personal referrals. Therefore, the scheme isn’t at all far fetched. That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Parasite is all about. To give anything more away would be criminal. Even more criminal would be you missing out on the movie that will go down in history as one of the best foreign films ever made.
Don’t let the subtitles put you off. You will only be punishing yourself if you do.
Parasite Review by Tim Nasson