Parasite Review

(Neon, CJ Entertainment)

Synopsis

Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.

Wow. This movie was absolutely phenomenal, and it really blew me away. Bong Joon-ho has created a brilliant masterpiece with Parasite, a movie that delivers a thought-provoking allegorical message about classes and wealth, while also delivering Hollywood-level comedy and suspense.

From the second this movie starts to the second it ends, the viewer is hooked. There isn’t a dull moment to this film. The first half will have you laughing and thoroughly enjoying the antics of the Kim family, while the back half of the movie will have you on the edge of your seat with the thrilling suspense it brings. At times it feels like you are watching a comedy, at others it feels like a horror film and at others it feels like a feel-good family drama.

There is so much to unwrap in this brilliant movie, but one thing that really stands out is the characters. Whether you love them or hate them, each character in the film is perfectly developed with a distinct personality, and it makes the events of the film that much more impactful on the viewer.

If there is a main character it is Kim Ki-woo, played by Woo-sik Choi, who masterminds the Kim family’s brilliant plan to all find employment by the wealthy Parks. Ki-woo is probably the most likeable character in the movie, as his cleverness and passion to help his family are endearing.

Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang and So-dam Park all bring fantastic performances as the rest of the Kim clan, and the relationship between this family is something that makes the movie so personable. The Kims don’t have much, but it is clear that they have each other. The power of family, and supporting your family, is brought out by the Kims, and it makes the message that Bong delivers so much more powerful.

On the other end of the Kims is the Parks, a family in a completely different world thanks to a whole lot of money. Yeo-jeong Jo is brilliant as the Park Yeon-kyo, the matriarch of the Park family, while Sun-kyun Lee also brings a stellar performance as Park Dong-ik, the husband and father. The Parks are wealthy and a bit naïve, and soon find themselves employing all four members of the Kim family.

The contrast between the rich and the poor, the Parks and the Kims, is the central point of this whole movie, and the way it is shown on the screen is absolutely brilliant. The Parks live in an extravagant house, designed by an architect for himself, and they throw money away like it is nothing. The Kims live in a semi-basement, steal Wi-Fi from their neighbors, and are looking for any chance they can at a small buck.

The two families live in completely different worlds, but are thrown together throughout the whole film. While they contrast so heavily, each member of both families has a counterpart in the other, which really helps bring out the differences in the two classes.

The way that Bong shows this separation is brilliant, and just part of what makes this movie such a masterpiece. Apart from the phenomenal story, Bong also delivers an absolutely breath-taking visual movie. Every single shot in this film is well thought out, and it seems that every single shot outdoes the last.

The placement of the camera in the scene, the movements of the camera and the characters within, and pretty much everything that Bong does visually is perfect. The contrast between the scenes at the Park home and the Kim home are alarming, but both are shot so beautifully.

This is one of, if not the best movies that I have seen all year, and it’s something that I can’t wait to watch again (and maybe again after that). There’s so much to unpack, and a lot of that includes some pretty spoiler-heavy material. So, this will wrap up the spoiler-free part of this review. Scroll down to read some more about the film if you’ve already seen it.

Rating: 98/100

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SPOILERS

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen something more powerful and thought-provoking in a film than the scenes that follow the storm. On one side of the story you have the Kim family dealing with utter disaster and the complete flooding of their home. On the other side, you see the Park family completely unaffected planning an elegant birthday party for a 10-year old.

There’s some super powerful imagery in these scenes, and it makes the viewer really think about the wealth and the separation of classes in society. The Kim family is miserable. Their home has been flooded. The spent the night sleeping in a gym with hundreds of other misplaced families. And then they have to go the Park’s, and plan a completely meaningless birthday party.

There’s a point where the father of the Kim family is driving the mother of the Park family, and she is on the phone with a friend. She’s talking about how their camping trip was cut short, but they were going to make the most of it by throwing the party. She uses the phrase “turning lemons into lemonade.” Mr. Kim is in the front seat of the car, and the look on his face says it all. The Parks feel misplaced that a storm cut their elaborate camping trip short, while the Kims have quite literally been misplaced from their home. The Parks have no care about this, though. They live in their own world.

The other thing that is crazy powerful is the parallels between the Kim family and the husband of the former housekeeper that is living in the basement of the Park’s home. First of all, this twist in the movie was completely unexpected and was absolutely exhilarating. But, when you dive further into it, you realize that the life of this man and the Kim family isn’t all that different. They live underground, and the Parks really don’t seem to notice them.

All hell breaks loose as the movie reaches its end, and the suspense is phenomenal. The bloodbath that comes at the party again is unexpected and jumps out, and it really wraps up the incredible range of this film.

I can’t recommend this movie enough. It is one of the best things that I have ever watched, and I really can’t wait to see it again.

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