Okay, so if you haven’t watched it yet then you’re going to want to click out of this movie review for the Korean film Parasite because there are SPOILERS ahead! Or at the very least, you should go watch the movie and then come back and read this.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
The film follows the Kims, a family of four who lives in an underground apartment. The Kims walk around their home searching for wifi signal, fold pizza boxes to make some money, and even refuse to close their windows when the fumigator comes by in hopes of getting free assistance to kill pesky bugs.
Their luck begins to turn around when Ki-woo, the son, is referred by a friend to tutor the daughter of the wealthy Park family.
Working in a stunning house at what seems to be the highest part of town proves to be mighty appealing. Through various schemes, all the Kims find employment in the Park residence. Mr. Kim becomes Mr. Park’s chauffeur. Chung-sook, the mom, takes the place of the longtime housekeeper, and the daughter, Ki-jeong, fills the role of the Park sons arts tutor.
Once the Kim family is set in place, they test the limits of how much the Parks can be manipulated without noticing.
The Rich vs The Poor
The notion that poor people just need to work harder to climb up the ladder and join the rich is a complete myth. The idea is almost laughable in this film.
You see this in the final scene when Ki-woo is reading a letter he’s written to his father in which he vows to work hard and buy the house he’s trapped in. At first, the viewer might buy into this scene in which father and son reunite, only to be hit with a dose of reality when the camera pans back to show Ki-woo still in the family’s underground apartment.
You sort of hope that his vision is true, but the idea that Ki-woo could ever work hard enough to buy that house is absurd. Your hope is crushed.
In most films, the rich are painted as snotty, arrogant, and just downright unlikeable people. The poor are usually the underdogs who somehow end up defeating the rich, and we all root them on. But in Parasite, you don’t really find yourself rooting for anyone.
Throughout the film, there is this ongoing class warfare that you begin to wonder if perhaps there are any heroes in this story.
You can’t hate the Parks for being insulated by their wealth and the fact that they are privileged. That doesn’t paint them as the bad guy. The Kims on the other hand, have no other option but to squirm their way into the Park residence. It’s their means of survival.
You never really end up disliking either side.
Parasite Might Be The Best Film Of 2019
Parasite at its core is a film about class disparity, economic inequality, and the violence and suffering that is a deep-rooted result of capitalism, oh, and climate change.
The brilliance of the film is that it approaches these themes with such sly wit that it never feels like these issues are brought out to the forefront. You as a viewer have to do a bit of digging and analyzing to uncover what certain things mean.
The film could have easily been about monstrous rich people who have large glass windows and cold concrete walls, who throw fancy and highly offensive garden parties, with a set of employees who they only listen to when they want them to speak. But it wasn’t.
If you take a deep look into Parasite, you’ll find that the film is about something much darker and much more insidious than what it seems. What you discover beneath the surface of the movie will likely stay with you long after the credits roll.