Before watching the film, I was skeptical that Parasite would live up to the hype. The last movie I saw by Bong Joon-ho was Snowpiercer and apart from Tilda Swinton’s performance, I didn’t really like it. I saw Mother several years before that and absolutely loved it, so I was one for two going into the film.
To create a world from scratch requires a force of imagination and stamina. To recreate a world requires something different, a unique worldview that looks at the same picture of the world we’re all looking at (as much as we can trust we’re observing the same thing) and see that the frame is tilted in a certain direction by a few degrees or so. That is the kind of world that Boots Riley brings to bear in Sorry to Bother You.
“She would have been a good woman,” The Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”
-Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find
The Girl in “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is a lonely unnamed vampire. Like Flannery O’Connor’s The Misfit, she is an outcast living on the fringes of society, committing acts of violence against people who more or less deserve them. When she bites off the finger of the drug dealer Saeed and then drains the blood from his neck, it is deserved because he has terrorized Arash, the protagonist in the film who has to take care of his drug-addicted father.
Us is not a movie about Black people but a movie in which the main characters happen to be Black. That statement is both true and misleading. Although the film makes no overt references to the Blackness of their lead characters, the fact that the lead characters are Black is already, by itself, a sort of proclamation. Sure, Black people have appeared in horror films as tropes (the Black character who is murdered first or within the first two acts) or as leads in Blaxploitation movies (Blacula comes to mind) or even leads in indie and Hollywood films (Night of the Living Dead and Vampire in Brooklyn) but Us is different.
The Irishman is about nothing.
This is not to be taken in the classic Seinfeld-ian connotation of the phrase. The Irishman is certainly about many weighty themes and ideas. It’s about the United States government and the US electorate and capitalism and the means of production and familial relationships and fraternity and loyalty and aging and mortality. It’s even about the proper way to store and transport fish and poultry. It’s about men and their lives and what those lives are, if they are not careful, filled up with: nothing.