Is Bong Joon-Ho the best in the business right now?

Tom Jolliffe seems to be at Bong Joon-Ho’s work this century. Is there anybody higher?


There are some distinctive administrators in cinema proper now. Some contemporary expertise burning vibrant, simply etching the beginnings of their (hopefully constant) legacies. I’m massively into Robert Eggers proper now, and the Safdie Brothers. Steve McQueen continues producing highly effective work throughout a number of mediums. Martin Scorsese remains to be creatively vibrant and hitting these excessive notes persistently. Different administrators are distinctive at finest, however with carte blanche at their disposal can often be undone by indulgence (Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan Nolan, Paul Thomas Anderson). However…is anybody fairly as rattling good as Bong Joon Ho proper now?


Like many people, Parasite actually kicked off a giant curiosity in his work for me. To that time I’d seen the US crossover movies Okja and Snowpiercer. They’re each high quality movies. The previous distinctly allegorical, quirky and loaded with creativeness (and heavy doses of attraction). It’s nonetheless among the best Netflix productions. It struck me because the mark of a filmmaker very assured in what he was doing, with out essentially making me suppose he was maybe high tier. Like many administrators of world cinema, when the US manufacturing homes become involved, it’s not all the time probably the most creatively open house, however I sense Bong was given largely free reign there. As for Snowpiercer, it stays one of the crucial sadly ignored movies of the final decade (Bong had a lot publicised spats with Harvey Weinstein, who spitefully contributed to its poor releasing). A metaphorical deconstruction of sophistication divides set in a dystopian future. Like all good massive brother movies about social construction and that divide between wealthy and poor, an rebellion is inevitable. The confined setting of a prepare by no means hinders the movie both, in a story that balances darkish themes, macabre humour, drama and prescience. It’s good. It slowly captured a cult viewers, spawned a TV reboot (that’s stable, if decidedly lower than par with Bong’s movie).


Parasite in fact was a revelation. For a lot of, an eye-opener to his abilities. To a fortunate choose (exterior of Korea at the very least), it was only a continuation of a grasp doing what he does finest. In terms of movies that follow me, that strike me as utterly masterful, I’m very a lot firmly lodged in twentieth century work. It’s to not say requirements have dropped this century. Possibly tastes have, with a fair heavier leaning towards simple escapism. Likewise, we’re solely lately popping out of a seeming aversion to greenlight extra intellectually participating materials (seen with the rise of A24 movies for one). Filmmakers are more and more (although nonetheless not sufficient) being given the chance to create movies that can hook their claws into you 2-3 viewings in. Fairly than a norm which is immediate gratification adopted by more and more much less impression (if I’m brutally trustworthy, lots of Marvel falls into that camp). Some movies are entertaining sufficient however virtually a hazy reminiscence by the point you’ve bought again to the cinema carpark. One thing like The Lighthouse for example isn’t a straightforward one to get into off the bat, however affords a lot repeat worth because of its inherent uniqueness. Parasite hits massive from the off and it will get higher with each viewing. It now joins a really small choice of works I may fairly comfortably embody in a Prime 100 listing. Time is a key issue, and typically we want time to issue longevity, however with Parasite, as I did with There Will Be Blood, or No Nation For Previous Males, offers me a definite assurance that it has timelessness in its veins.


It’s an distinctive work and an instance of a film-maker respiratory life into a movie, and understanding the machinations of his work all the way down to its core DNA. Each fibre of Parasite connects collectively and makes total sense (you would say the other of one thing like Tenet say, that Nolan is aware of inside out however doesn’t translate completely to one and all). The movie superbly weaves collectively various set ups and payoffs. The construction is so tight and by way of its visible language (from how Bong has the movie shot and edited) it’s impeccable and geniusly elaborate (YouTube has various nice dissections theorising how Bong put this collectively). The factor is, you could be that intelligent, the trick is to have the ability to make it unnoticeable to those that aren’t intensely on the lookout for it. Bong has that modesty in his film-making. He has completely refined management in what he does. Nothing isn’t meticulous, however these selections shouldn’t be pushy and shouldn’t intrude on the viewers. So far as mixing genres too, Bong is a grasp, however this was a beautiful cocktail of genres that by no means felt off stability.


After Parasite got here that want for me to look again retrospectively. It’s so good, is that this the highest of the mountain, at an altitude means up by itself in Bong’s CV? It in all probability is the most effective, however a few others significantly, have pushed it shut. Mom, a brilliantly crafted detective story, follows the mom of a mentally challenged younger man accused of homicide. Their relationship is shut, mutually reliant on the opposite (for the son, functionally, the mom emotionally). He’s one thing of a determine of enjoyable to some within the neighbourhood. The mom dotes on him and infants him considerably, however finds objective from doing so. That drawn out seek for the reality, her agency perception that he couldn’t be able to taking a life, is gripping, and typically harrowing. The efficiency from Kim Hye-Ja can also be magnificent. Had Mom captured the identical sort of curiosity Parasite did, it definitely would have been worthy of any Oscar consideration, and Hye-Ja likewise.


What may be even higher, and a movie nonetheless contemporary in thoughts for me, is Reminiscences of Homicide. This one was the primary to essentially break Bong into world consciousness. It’s as effective a procedural crime thriller as you’ll see from this century, considerably harking back to one thing like Zodiac in case you’ve seen the latter however not the previous. Two detectives who flit between bumbling and immoral of their search to discover a serial killer (who targets ladies wearing purple, on wet Korean nights) are joined by a detective from Seoul who works extra logically (however will get more and more invested emotionally into the case, virtually to breaking level). It’s a movie that captures the fruitlessness of circumstances with a shortage of stable proof. The chase usually appears hopeless, and the strategies hopeful (over methodical and sensible). It’s personified within the truth key DNA proof must be despatched to America for testing as Korea doesn’t (or didn’t through the movies late 80’s setting) have the capabilities. With out giving an excessive amount of away on any of those, Bong has a penchant for non-committal, barely open endings (leaning towards pessimism). He is aware of the way to finish a movie and have it stick. He is aware of the way to make you stroll out of a theatre in close to shocked silence, however being enamoured with the cinematic ability on the similar time. I’ll have an interest to see my ideas on this movie in 5 years, compared to Parasite. They’re his two strongest items in an close to faultless CV (The Host can also be an amazing, a very distinctive creature characteristic with Bong’s signature individuality), and Reminiscences of Homicide is among the most interesting detective tales in latest cinema historical past.


Like virtually everybody who noticed Parasite, my anticipation for what comes subsequent is excessive. Can Bong keep that degree and proceed to litter his CV with nice films? Can he proceed to maintain a seat on the excessive desk of remarkable administrators and cement his legacy within the all time corridor of fame? He’s definitely heading that means, and proper now, he’s a film-maker whose subsequent movie in all probability fills me with extra pleasure than anybody else. What are your ideas on Bong Joon Ho? Who’s your favorite director working proper now? Tell us on our social channels @FlickeringMyth…

Tom Jolliffe is an award profitable screenwriter and passionate cinephile. He has various movies out on DVD/VOD world wide and several other releases due out in 2021, together with, Renegades (Lee Majors, Danny Trejo, Michael Pare, Tiny Lister, Ian Ogilvy and Billy Murray), Crackdown, When Darkness Falls and Warfare of The Worlds: The Assault (Vincent Regan). Discover extra information at the most effective private website you’ll ever see…


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