Yes it’s true about all the hype surrounding the South Korean film ‘Parasite’ – it’s funny, dramatic, and very very different, and it sticks to you like, well, a parasite.
Director Bong Joon-ho, who wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won, tells the tale of the Kim family, who are all unemployed (they attempt to get a job folding pizza boxes but fail miserably) and live in a ground floor basement apartment where locals relieve themselves right outside their window. They also steal Wifi connections from neighbors. The son, Kim-woo (Choi Woo-shik) gets a job tutoring the daughter of the wealthy Park family who live in an architecturally stunning home. And soon enough, the daughter, Ki-jeong (a brilliant Park So-dam) poses as Kim-woo’s friend ‘Jessica’ who is then hired to be an art therapist for the Parks’ young son. And then eventually the father (Song Kang-ho) and the mother (Chang Hyae-jin) get jobs in the Park household as well, infiltrating the Parks’ home and their lives, like an organism (parasite). But their good luck just about comes to an end when the former Park housekeeper (whose job the mother stole) comes back to check on what she left behind (it’s quite a surprise!), and it’s then that the Kim family ruse starts to be discovered and it all slowly starts to unravel, especially when the Parks come back home early from a rained out vacation.
It’s such an extraordinary tale that could only come from the man who gave us ’The Host’ (where a monster kidnaps a young girl), and ‘Okja’ (where a young girl raises a large pig).’ Joon-ho elicits great performances from all of his cast, especially the younger actors of the Kim family – they are all very dastardly in their lies, and the Park family wife (Cho Yeo-jeong), who is oblivious to what is happening in her very own home.
Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival as well as two BAFTA Awards (Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Not in the English Language), and nominated for 6 Academy Awards, ‘Parasite’ is truly one of the best films of the year – it’s a dark comedy that’s very very dark – and delicious.
Review by Tim Baros