(Photo by Magnolia/courtesy Everett Collection)
All Bong Joon-ho Movies Ranked by Tomatometer
South Korean director Bong Joon-ho made his debut in 2000 with Barking Dogs Never Bite, about an unemployed grad student who takes measures against a neighbor’s incessantly yapping pooch. Things, as you may imagine, don’t go as planned. Though Barking Dogs is underseen in the West compared to the rest of Bong’s filmography (it doesn’t have enough reviews for a Tomatometer), the film immediately established the trademarks that would ultimately lead Bong to a historic Oscar victory, including the director’s taste for dark humor, lethal thrills, and social commentary, all wrapped in elusive and smooth filmmaking technique.
His follow-up, 2003’s Memories of Murder, established Bong as one to watch on the international scene, a director able to take influences from Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and David Fincher and mold them into something fresh. The Host expanded his audience thanks to its high-concept monster movie angle, palatable for genre fans searching for something outside of mainstream fare. He collaborated with Michel Gondry and Leos Carax for Tokyo!. And with Mother, Bong bent the horror genre to his will. Sci-fi was next with Snowpiercer, starring Chris Evans, who naturally drew in plenty of outside interest: Come for Captain America, stay for the kooky and violent class-society parable set on a post-apocalyptic winter train. 2017’s Okja, an environmentalist fable, continued to see Bong refining his ability to mix wildly disparate genres and tones. Every movie he’s directed has been designated Certified Fresh by the critics.
This all came to a head with Parasite, the unclassifiable film that has whipped audiences into a frenzy for its twisty plot, brazen character work, and social outrage. Parasite made history when it became the first non–English-language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Bong collected that statue at the 2020 ceremony, along with Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best International Film, tying Walt Disney for the most Oscars awarded to a person in a single night.
Having officially put South Korea on the map forever in cinema, we’re looking back on Bong Joon-ho’s movies, ranked by Tomatometer. —Alex Vo
Adjusted Score: 126229%
Critics Consensus: An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft.
Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99789%
Critics Consensus: As fleshy as it is funny, Bong Joon-Ho's Mother straddles family drama, horror and comedy with a deft grasp of tone and plenty of eerie visuals.
A widow (Kim Hye-ja) resides with her mentally challenged son (Won-bin) in a small South Korean town, where she scrapes... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97005%
Critics Consensus: Memories of Murder blends the familiar crime genre with social satire and comedy, capturing the all-too human desperation of its key characters.
In 1986, Park (Song Kang-ho) and Cho (Kim Roi-ha) are two simple-minded detectives assigned to a double murder investigation in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104408%
Critics Consensus: Snowpiercer offers an audaciously ambitious action spectacular for filmgoers numb to effects-driven blockbusters.
A post-apocalyptic ice age forces humanity's last survivors aboard a globe-spanning supertrain. One man (Chris Evans) will risk everything to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98578%
Critics Consensus: As populace pleasing as it is intellectually satisfying, The Host combines scares, laughs, and satire into a riveting, monster movie.
Careless American military personnel dump chemicals into South Korea's Han River. Several years later, a creature emerges from the tainted... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102547%
Critics Consensus: Okja sees Bong Joon-ho continuing to create defiantly eclectic entertainment -- and still hitting more than enough of his narrative targets in the midst of a tricky tonal juggling act.
For 10 idyllic years, young Mija has been caretaker and constant companion to Okja - a massive animal and an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77765%
Critics Consensus: An imaginative, if uneven, love letter to a city that signals a great creative enterprise by its three contributing directors.
Three distinct tales unfold in the bustling city of Tokyo. Merde (Denis Lavant), a bizarre sewer-dweller, emerges from a manhole... [More]
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Adjusted Score: 57160%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Frustrated with loud barking, an academic (Lee Sung-jae) wages war against dogs in his apartment building.... [More]