Parasite lives up to its namesake and is one of the best films of 2019.
a person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return.
The Oxford Dictionary explains words by showing their development rather than merely their present-day usages. In contrast, Urban Dictionary is a crowdsourced online dictionary that is constantly updated with the latest phrases and slang. The juxtaposition is that both of these are dictionaries, however, their class isn’t equal.
When it comes to the struggle between the economic class, Parasite is an appropriate title for director Bong Joon Ho’s latest film. The satirical dark comedy thriller follows an unemployed family who take complete advantage of a wealthy family. Parasite stars Song Kang-ho, Jang Hye-jin, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Lee Sun-kyun, and Cho Yeo-jeong. Spoilers after trailer.
Get The Foot In The Door, Secure The Bag
Ladies and gentlemen, the lady pictured on the right is an easy mark and the man to her left is an All-Time Finesser and an automatic inductee in Scammer Hall of Fame. Kevin (Choi Woo-sik) and his family live in squalor, but their fortunes begin to change when his friend refers him to the Parks family. Out of necessity, he does a little bit of finessing and gets hired as a tutor for the Parks’ teenage daughter Park Da-hye (Jung Ziso).
Kevin is the ultimate family man because as soon as he got on, he put on the rest of his family. The Parks’ hire Jessica (Park So-dam) as an art tutor, who unbeknownst to them, is Kevin’s sister. Bong Joon Ho decides to raise the stakes when Jessica gets the Parks driver fired under false pretensions. This is a subtle character development to let us know that Jessica will do whatever and not feel bad about it. With no driver, this opens up a spot for Mr. Kim (Song Kang-ho), Kevin and Jessica’s dad, to work for the Parks.
To complete the quadfecta, the Kim family has to get rid of the Parks’ longtime maid, Gook Moon-gwang (Lee Jung-eun), and the film transitions into a heist movie as they get her out of there. Bong Joon Ho builds up the tension as the Kims devise a plan that allows the matriarch Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin) to become the Parks’ new maid.
Parasite’s narrative structure keeps you guessing what will happen next. By the end of the first hour, the Kims have taken over, they’re living a good life. They went from poverty to being employed by a rich family, yet Bong Joon Ho doesn’t allow them to be happy for too long.
Deeper Than Its Surface
Symbolism and metaphors are all over this film. Gook Moon-gwang has kept Geun-sae (Park Myung-hoo), her husband, hidden in a secret cellar that the Parks didn’t even know about. This leads to the Kims’ covers being blown and a confrontation between the poorest people in the film. They all fight in the cellar to get out (which is back on top) which is a visual metaphor for the struggle poor people go through daily.
With all the money the Parks have, they are far from a happy couple. Mr. Park (Lee Sun-kyun) and Mrs. Park (Cho Yeo-jeong) don’t show much affection to each other outside of one scene. Since they are rich, they do not know how to do anything themselves and make the lower class do everything for them. On top of that, Mrs. Park is extremely naive and doesn’t have any street smarts.
Mr. Park is overly dedicated to his job, to the point that he doesn’t enjoy life. He’s cynical, and he has considered firing Mr. Kim because of his odor. If Mr. Park could relate to the lower class or simply go downstairs to his cellar, he’d find out that Geun-sae worships him. Ironically, another metaphor for the poor worshipping the rich.
A Birthday Surprise
Like the candles on a birthday cake, the birthday party scene is where Parasite blows out everything you were expecting. The way this film started to how it got to this point shouldn’t be possible, but good storytelling can make anything happen. This movie goes from dark comedy to heist to thriller to action movie and it nothing feels out of place.
Geun-sae escapes the cellar weilding a knife and the comotion is filmed perfectly. The quick cuts expressed the frantic panicking of the party guests. Boon Jong Ho uses tight shots of screaming faces while cutting between more narrative that was established earlier. Before Geun-sae met his demise, he yelled Mr. Park’s name, who then asked, “You know me?” with Geun-sae screaming “RESPECT!” before succumbing from his wounds.
A magnificent way to send off Geun-sae, but the film doesn’t just end there. Mr. Park had to stick his nose up due to the smell and an irate Mr. Kim made sure that was the last thing he ever did. The character, who didn’t have much of a heart throughout the film, got stabbed in his, how fitting.
Parasite is by far one of the best films of 2019. The film has a little bit of everything like drama, comedy, suspense, and action. The actors had magnificent performances and the direction was stylish and full of personality. Narratively, Parasite does a phenomenal job with its socioeconomic commentary in a way that doesn’t feel forced, unlike other films. It examines class in a way that isn’t heavy handed, and it understands what a symbiotic relationship is. A family full of scammers and finesers nearly pulled off the ultimate come up, but all good things have to come to an end.
[All Mames Wey]
Parasite was released in theaters October 11, 2019.
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