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Movie review: PARASITE

Year: 2019
Director: Bong Joon-Ho
Producers: Bong Joon-Ho, Kwak Sin-ae, Yang-Kwon Moon, Jang Yeong-hwan
Screenwriter: Bong Joon-Ho, Jin Won Han
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo, Woo-sik Choi, So-dam Park
Genre: Thriller, Drama, Dark Comedy

A small, impoverished family invades the lives of members of another well-to-do family, but soon comes to a shocking revelation that puts their own work of deception to shame

Rating: 5/5

Parasite is the first Korean movie to ever win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It has also been nominated for an Academy Award, won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film (2020) and won the SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (2020).

One of the things I find so great about this movie is the number and sheer quality of plot twists that were part of it. So important were these plot twists, that the director, Bong Joon-Ho, intentionally excluded a great chunk of the filming from the trailer and issued a plea to the press not to reveal any spoilers.

The director repeatedly makes use of several film elements like foreshadowing, for example, in one of the opening scenes, the Kims try to get a pizza delivery worker, fired so Kim could take his place, a coup that they pull off on a bigger scale later in the movie. He also contrasts between the lifestyles of the Kims and the Parks, for example lush lawn and backyard space versus narrow walkways and corners. It uses metaphors like the scholarly rock. This rock signifies how what they thought was an answer to their problems eventually became a source of pain. The constantly trespassing drunk is a metaphor for the Kims' poverty, and the rainstorm that takes place on the camping night is also symbolic of the trouble that was about to occur within the Parks’ home that same night. All these reveal to the well-trained eye that the director truly does know his stuff.

One cannot deny that the film was aptly named. In this movie, the Kim family latch onto the Park family like a sponge, unbeknownst to the latter, taking advantage of the Parks’ passivity and simplicity, and depending on their resources to survive. The motif of a bug or insect is repeated throughout the entire film. At the beginning of the movie, we see the family in their slum house, complaining about ‘stink bugs’. It is not a coincidence that while the neighbourhood was being fumigated, insecticide wafted in through the windows, filling the room where they were sitting, almost as it they themselves were also targets of the fumigation. 

One major theme that runs through the movie is economic inequality and poverty struggle. One cannot help but sympathise with the Kims- they were dealt a very poor deck of cards from the start. This social issue is salient not just in Korea, but in many countries all over the world, more so in some than others. By addressing this in his movie, Bong seeks to draw attention how this social issue contributes to a host of other socially detrimental and dangerous problems

The acting in Parasite was impressive. Song Kang Ho (Kim Ki Taek), Hye-jin Jang (Kim Chung-Sook), Yeo-jeong Jo (Park Yeon-kyo) and Jeong-eun Lee (Moon Gwang) among others performed outstandingly well in their roles.The music selected for the movie was well-suited to the scenes, creating the right mood, and heightening suspense. The camera angles and movements were also well-executed. I have no complaints whatsoever- I give it a 5!

Do you intend to see Parasite? Let me know in the comments! Don’t forget to share!


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