Writer/director Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar-winning comedy-drama PARASITE is a gripping and marvellous must-see.
I might be a little late to the party but PARASITE, this year’s Oscar-winning comedy-drama by director Bong Joon Ho is a must-see. It’s such a brilliantly told satire on greed and class and when that desire to live a better life can dangerously spiral out of control. I love it when a movie so richly deserves all the accolades and praise that has been heaped on it because PARASITE is one such film and you absolutely have to see it.
The Kim family live a poor existence in a basement in one of the lower class areas of a South Korean city. Father Ki-taek (Song Kang Ho), mother Chung-sook (Chang Hyae Jin) and their teenage children Ki-woo (Choi Woo Shik) and his sister Ki-jung (Park So Dam) do menial jobs to make ends meet, usually only doing the bare minimum that the jobs require. More often than not, they resort to scams to bring some money and it seems as though their lives are stuck in this endless cycle of poverty.
Things take a turn when Min-hyuk, a wealthy friend of Ki-woo tells him that as he’s leaving to study abroad, the tutoring job he’s been doing for a very wealthy family could be taken by Ki-woo. As Ki-woo is not qualified, Min-hyuk will vouch for him but to seal the deal Ki-woo asks his very clever sister to forge documents for his interview.
Ki-woo is then astounded when he meets the Park family at their to-die-for, palatial designer home. Mr Park (Lee Sun Kyun) a businessman and his somewhat scatterbrained wife (Cho Yeo Jeong) and their two children live an existence as far removed from the Kims as is possible to be. Once Ki-woo secures the tutoring job with its ridiculously high wages and hears that the Park’s young son needs an art tutor, he cleverly suggests his friend “Jessica” would be perfect for the position.
Soon “Jessica” (really his sister Ki-jung) is also in the Park’s employ and getting their limo driver fired so she can recommend her “Uncle” (really father Ki-taek) for the job. That only leaves the housekeeper, who also needs to be dismissed so that Chung-sook can be the final member of the Kim family to be hired. Easy-as-pie for the Kim family.
You may then think that the Kim’s have achieved their goal as they enjoy an enormous increase in income whilst fooling the Park family that they are doing more than that usual bare minimum in their jobs. But it’s when the Park family goes off on a camping trip for the weekend and the Kims make a mess of the house in their enjoyment of their success that things begin to look shaky.
With the return of the housekeeper and the unveiling of her incredible story, Bong Joon Ho’s movie begins to further delight us with its almost Hitchcockian twists and turns in the narrative. Can the Kims keep up their pretence or will their desire for more and to completely take over the lives of the Park family be their downfall?
Finding out in PARASITE’s supremely accomplished last third is to enjoy storytelling at its finest. Your jaw will hit the floor when you think you know how it will all end and then writer/director Bong Joon Ho delivers one more brilliant, revelatory moment. This really is one of the films of the year – see it.