“All unemployed, Ki-taek and his family take peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks, as they ingratiate themselves into their lives and get entangled in an unexpected incident.” – IMDB
BOOM. Yep, that’s the sound of my brain dripping out of my ears after it’s been blown to smithereens watching Parasite. And if you are, like me, not a fan of the horror genre, I am asking you to place your trust in me and take the plunge because whatever you think this movie is going to be, it’s not. If it helps, Parasite is actually classified online as a dark comedy thriller and that’s true when you watch it, but you may need to keep reminder yourself of that as the tension builds. And builds. AND BUILDS. AAANNNDDD BBBUUUIIILLLDDDSSS. Let me clarify…
This is a tough movie to talk about without giving anything away, but I’ll do my best. The story follows the members of the Kim family, who are each unemployed and living in a semi-basement apartment, as they conspire to get one another hired by the wealthy Park family, while pretending not to be related. I know that’s a lot right there, but you’ll catch on to that pretty quick. What takes longer to sink in is just how unflinchingly the movie looks at class, poverty, elitism, and social inequality.
Particularly during the first half of the movie, you are so focused on the sinking feeling in your stomach…that feeling of waiting for a monster to jump out of the closet…and then the movie flips on its f***ing head. We begin to see what elitism really means and how it may appear benevolent on its surface, until it is put under the microscope. I watched the movie almost a week ago and a line that sticks with me comes after the Kim family faces a (literal) storm that threatens to destroy what little possessions they have and possibly their lives. The morning after, we hear the matriarch of the Park family saying how lovely the weather is now that the storm cleared everything out. That moment, and many others, cause you not only visceral disgust, but also (hopefully) immediate self-reflection of how often we overlook the needs of others in service of our own comfort. And, of course, the term parasite takes on an entirely different meaning from the beginning to the end of the movie…but I’ll let you dig into that more as you watch the movie.
As you can tell from my writing this blog, I’ve seen my fair share of movies. I’ve never seen one like Parasite. There’s a passion and an urgency in its subtext that makes it a difficult, but necessary watch. It may make you uncomfortable…but, hey, that’s the entire point!
Rating: 10 out of 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also see: Train to Busan, Burning, A Tale of Two Sisters
With: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo, Woo-shik Choi, So-dam Park
Directed By: Bong Joon Ho