Welcome to another review! For today, I will be reviewing the blockbuster Korean film which recently won four (4) Oscars including Best Picture and it is the first and only international film to do so.
Since I watched Parasite last year, I have been itching to write a review but never got around to doing it. Parasite is by far one of the best films I watched in 2019 and it left a lasting impression. It is the film that other films wish they were. Beautiful and lyrical story telling, well developed plot and characters, well structured events, great picture and cinematography, it is just a well made film.
Parasite is a 2019 South Korean comedic-thriller film which was directed by Bong Joon-ho and co-written by Han Ji-won. Why am I finally writing a review you might ask? Well when my friends saw the news that a Korean film won four Oscars, they were shocked and as the resident Korean Culture loving PhD. holder, they came to me. This made me realize the need to produce this review of this spectacular film.
I will try as much as possible not to spoil this film. It is really good to go into the movie with very little knowledge, although knowing too much for me didn’t really disrupt my enjoyment anyways.
Black comedy (dark humor)
Breifly, it is about the clash of classes in the form of a rich and a poor family.
This whole film is a gigantic metaphor.
The nature and depth of this film is not going to allow me to just brush over the surface, so I have decided to divide this review section into four parts; the story, the cast; the implication and the relatability of this film.
Before I start, things might get a bit spoilery but I will try as much as possible to reduce this. So let’s get into it
The first scene introduces us to the Kim family which in this case is the poor family living in a semi basement with barely enough light coming in through the small windows. Ki Woo’s friend pays them a visit bringing with him a scholar stone which supposedly promises wealth to whoever possesses it (This is very theatrical as they seem have an ephemeral experience with money). His friend offers him a job with an extremely rich family, the Parks’, who need a tutor for their daughter.
When Ki Woo goes to meet the Parks’ he realizes how rich and easily manipulatable they are so he devices a plan to bring his sister into the family as an art therapist. From this point onwards things seem to go smoothly their way until things take a drastic and unimaginable turn (this is where I stop in order to reduce the spoilery effect, trust me there is too much information about the plot of this film online, I believe it is one of those films which you have to watch without fore knowledge.)
The story and the location (which by the way was all created, the Park’s house, the Kim’s basement and street was all made and some parts green screened) was just so amazing but what made this film so perfect was the cast. I was particularly impressed by Song Kang-ho who played the Kim Ki-taek the father of Ki Woo (the poor family), his role in the film who so intense and crucial to the overall weight of the tragedy that befell the families.
Choi Min–suk performance came as no surprise to me as I have seen him in a lot of movies and dramas and he is just fantastic (check him out in The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion). I can go on and on about how good he was in this drama. Then we have the amazing Park So–dam who is know so well know for her Jessica Jingle which is actually a famous Korean children song “Dokdo is our Land” which is usually used by students to memorize.
All the actors definitely made watching this film an amazing experience. I also have to point out Cho Yeo–jeong who I absolutely love since I watched I Need Romance. She was a delight in this film and definitely brought the ‘simple’, ‘gullible’ and ‘oblivious’ nature of the ‘rich’ character she played to life.
The shots in this film was very dramatic, the sequence was very exploitational, the lights, the title and even the location of the film made everything exceptional. When we examine the semi-basement where the Kim’s live and the lack of electricity, internet, and the fact that they almost killed themselves trying to get free fumigation says a lot about the housing crisis that is being faced in Korea. One of the great things about this film is the fact that all its implication are things that people all around the world are experiencing whether it be the rich or the poor.
Another element that Bong the director of this film used really well was water, in this case, rain. In Korea, where the quality of the air is ruined by fine dust we experience the way the rain which should be a positive connotation for the environment have on two varying classes. There is a really touching scene of where the Kim’s are trying to save what they have left of their property from being destroyed by the flood which have ruined their home. Then at the Park’s who are at the ‘Upper’ end of the social class are also unhappy about the rain but for reasons that their camping trip have been ruined and they end up staying indoors watching their son camp outside on their massive lawn in a native American tent.
Social class, the reason I used the word ‘upper’ instead of ‘other’ end should really indicate how I feel about the discriminatory expanse between the two classes. One thing that I can say about this film was that it wasn’t really much about the rich against the poor, it was more the poor stepping on each other to get ahead (when you watch the film you would hopefully get my point). The cinematography really pointed to the upper and lower of the story, they reaching up for things, we looking up at the rich and the rich looking down at the poor. The shots were so strategic that I just think that Bong is a genius.
The thoughts that crossed my mind while watching this film includes but not limited to, “woah, that so true” “that is absolutely me” “gosh, I didn’t know I was living such a parasitic existence” “its the society’s fault, not mine”. I didn’t really pity the rich family at first but now that I am writing this review and I look back, I realized that the rich family really did nothing to deserve the tragedy that befell them (other than their ignorance of societal problems). The Kim’s i.e. the poor family, really just wanted to get out of the shithole they were in, they just went about it the wrong way (but really, what is the right way). Society doesn’t even give poor people the chance to go about things the right way. For example, the Kim Ki-jeong the daughter of the Kim family is so talented but she can’t really go to school without money. After watching this film, I thought “The society we live in is for the rich, and it has forced the hand of the poor to get what they want by any means necessary”
This film packed a punch and it delivered the revelation of social inequality, class conflict and modern capitalism at its ‘best’.
His rage boils over and he kill a man (this is as much as I can say without revealing a major spoiler)
If I had written this review immediately after watching this film, I would have rated it 10 out of 10 stars. But upon further review, I will be rating this 9.8 out of 10 stars.
Thanks for reading. Have you watching this film? Did you enjoy it? Tell me what you think?