Considering the title of the film and the director involved (Bong Joon-Ho: The Host, Snowpiercer, Memories of Murder), many of those who have not seen the trailer will think this is a sci-fi thriller or a sequel to “The Host”.
But actually, this movie is as real as it gets!
Becoming the first Korean movie ever to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes Festival 2019 is no mean feat, especially since the world knows about the top notch quality of South Korean cinema.
And once you are done watching it, you know that Parasite deserves nothing less.
Parasite is a black comedy with a smooth narrative (a rarity in Korean films) which delves into various important topics like social inequality, materialism and aspirations.
Song Kang-ho plays Ki-taek, an unemployed man who lives in a stinky basement with his wife, Chung-sook, his smart yet cynical 20-something daughter, Ki-jung (Park So-dam), and son, Ki-woo (Choi Woo-sik).
They are all out of work and out of cash, making pizza boxes for a living sometimes. Then Ki-woo gets a stroke of luck: an old school-friend helps him get a lucrative tutoring job at a rich household.
With a fake college diploma created by the savvy sister Ki-jung, he shows up at the lavish home of the Park family, wealthy entrepreneur Mr Park (Lee Sun-kyun), his delicate and sensitive wife, Yeon-kyo (Cho Yeo-jeong), their teen daughter, Da-hye (Jung Ziso) and her wacky kid brother, Da-song (Jung Hyeon-jun). They have a loyal, live-in housekeeper named Moon-gwang (Jeong-eun Lee).
The polite and likable Ki-woo is an instant hit with his new employers and his pupil Da-hye gets a real crush on him, which the coolly ruthless Ki-woo does nothing to discourage.
Then the naive lady of the house, Yeon-kyo, reveals that she also needs an art tutor for her young son, to shape his painting talents; Ki-woo suggests his sister (while concealing their relationship), and soon the smart Ki-jung is also a success with these ‘rich suckers’.
It looks as if the wealthy Parks could be a meal ticket for the whole cunning family, all pretending to be complete strangers to each other. Following this, the father enters the household as a driver and the mother enters the rich place as the maid; after tricking the owners into firing the previous employees one by one.
One night, when the trickster family are enjoying the palatial house to their own after the Park family are out on a holiday, a secret is revealed and all hell breaks loose…
Scriptwriter-duo Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won have many twists intertwined to make “Parasite” linear yet intriguing piece of cinema. Its dark yet funny, direct-to-the-face yet satirical.
Jung Jae-il’s classical score plays masterfully in the background with the cinematography by Hong Kyung-pyo setting a rich tone throughout.
The laughs are spread throughout the film, even when tragedy strikes to Ki-taek and family. It goes without saying that the whole cast does a phenomenal job.
Parasite is a film which is not only suitable to South Korea, but it’s something which crosses geographic boundaries of relevance. The rift between the rich and the poor is vast, with the perception of life varying for both the clans.
Social media and technology has become accessible to the non-affordable as well (to some extent) which makes them easier to impersonate the people they want to be.
Materialism takes a level up on selfishness, without thinking of the consequences. These points are subtly put forward in this Bong-Joon Ho gem, which needs to be watched not only as a film, but as a case study of society.
Subtle, moving, funny, tragic and simple yet effective, this film is surely for the ages and will be a serious contender at the upcoming Oscars.
Rating: 4.5/5 (DO NOT MISS IT!)