Two dissimilar households cross stars with one another, first is the unemployed Kim family who lives beneath street level, the second is the Park family who lives inside what is essentially a giant glass and metal box, transparent cupboards beautifully displaying fine possessions. No matter how neat the large home stays, the Parks are unable to proof it of a Parasite, or in this scenario, four of them. Those little leeches are in fact the Kims, whose poor house starkly contrasts the rich house; they all cheat to obtain jobs under the rich folk, leaving nothing to come together besides eventual chaos.
But really, it’s hard not to blame the Kims for resorting to such extreme measures. Once their home loses Wi-Fi, this relatable problem makes you beg for their success. They can’t even have a peaceful time in their own home without a drunk guy peeing in direct view of their window. Further outside, a dense shot through a telephone wire web fits the film’s cinematography style; the imagery of the poor clutters its subjects without any shape, while the imagery of the rich remains orderly. Humiliating, isn’t it?
The four protagonists are covetous antiheroes, yet their anger present is still easy to understand, no matter how wonderfully bright the mornings appear, these common folks’ dark hearts still leave a deeper mental imprint as their trials persist in futility. Audiences should enjoy the way the Kims rehearse the lies, as audiences should also appreciate the strong use of rain symbolizing when plans go down the drain. The music appropriately sets that dread, just listening to the movie makes you wonder, “Will they succeed?” The answer gradually becomes less clear as the poor characters time and time again think they won the ideal South Korean dream. They eventually let dumb luck get to their heads and call rich people naïve, a mindset that starts with the savage attack they secretly land on the Parks’ housekeeper, which is just one of the criminal antics that set up the final punch in the climax’s suddenly scary new direction. Even if the main cast does not bond enough, the external actions work super well.
With the mindful ways that these actors are staged in their efforts to outsmart the other, they’re destined to not be noticed, but encapsulate all the emotions that could ever be felt by a human. The rhythm of the rich seems to move slower as the poor sucks out their livelihood, likewise, the rhythm of the poor seems to move faster, their car conversations effectively establish a sense of hiding something while hand-to-hand contact sets the sexual tension. That level of control is present with the elements around the actors too; the paintings by the Parks’ young boy proves signs of schizophrenia, which compels you to watch the bottom-right corner of the screen to see when expectations go awry. So much depth enlivens every frame, the elements that compose the depth work harmoniously with each other without calling attention to themselves, including the special effect of a puking toilet.
The experience becomes too much to stomach in the best way possible; you ache to know what happens next. The questions surface all the deeper once the actress playing the Parks’ old housekeeper, Lee Jeong-eun, gives the film’s best performance. At first, she acts like a complete nobody, that is, until the… one reveal never expected from a rich household that uses three dogs to display true wealth. The huge surprise plot twist compels massive intrigue because of the actors’ deceptively mellow responses.
That’s enough to prove just how powerful this thriller gets. If there were anything prone to objectionable controversy, it would be its negative depictions of American-Indians (the spirit of cub scouts), the lack of character development for the female characters, and the wrong answers taught about answers to an existential crisis.
Other than those little issues, there is no reason to recommend against such a masterclass motion picture such as this one, something that falls into the type of entertainment that can easily grasp the common moviegoing crowd, and that applies as well to those who support bad superhero flicks. Despite it being spoken purely in Korean, this profound social commentary is both ready to be analyzed by scholars and can also be enjoyed at the level of popcorn entertainment without tarnishing the deeper impact its themes will convey. That’s what every movie should strive to become: entertaining sermons. It is through such an easily digestible approach that you become turned subconsciously alert about the danger going on across our planet-home.
In the case of South Korea’s submission for the Best International Film Oscar, it alerts listeners to how the neediest of sufferers are often the ones who turn out to be the most toxic. At a much more personal level, Parasite reminds listeners how everyone of every class, race, and background holds deadly secrets, especially you.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Brody, Richard. “How ‘Parasite’ Falls Short of Greatness.” Digital image. The New Yorker. Condé Nast, 14 Oct 2019. Web. <https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-front-row/how-parasite-falls-short-of-greatness>.
Parasite. Powster. Web. <https://www.parasite-movie.com/home/>.