Parasite Is The Best Film of The Decade.‘Parasite’s’ opening shot of a small glass window looking up from a basement house to the view of a narrow winding road, sets the visual language of the film firmly, right at the onset.
There are many more such shots which metaphorically convey the social and economic disparity that is the central theme of this film. Especially the use of stairs going up and down, cramped spaces versus lush, open green lawns, delectably and elegantly laid out fruit slices as opposed to a clumisly heaped plate of food from a local kitchen.
Kim Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) and his family live in a pokey, underground house and are generally unemployed. When we meet them, the family is perturbed that their access to free wifi has been cut short. Obviously not able to afford their own, they have been sponging off their neighbor’s connection.
In fact, even as a fumigation carried out on their street, Kim tells his family to leave the windows open so they can have a free extermination of the insects in their house, despite almost choking on the fumes. On some days, they get by with temporary jobs like fixing pizza boxes.
So when his son Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) is offered by a friend to be set up as an English tutor to the daughter of a wealthy Mr. Park (Lee Sun-kyun), he agrees. Only hitch, Kim Ki-woo doesn’t have a college degree having failed his university exams. But his sister, Kim Ki-jeong (Park So-dam) presents a quick solution to this with her expert photo-shopping skills.
Armed with a forged degree document, Kim makes an easy impression on Mr.Park’s wife, Yeon-kyo (Cho Yeo-jeong) and their teenage daughter, Park Da-hye (Jung ji-so). There’s also their nine-year-old son, Park Da-song (Jung Hyeong), scampering around the house, who Yeon-kyo believes has untapped potential as an artist. With one foot firmly inside the Park household, Kim Ki-jeong craftily places his sister as Da-song’s art teacher cum therapist.
Yeon-kyo’s naivety and gullible nature makes this inclusion quite smooth. Soon with some careful scheming, fake identities and a well-rehearsed plan even his parents, Kim Ki-taek and Chung sook (Chang Hyae-jin) are employed in the household. It seems like a flawless plan with the Kim family settled into their new found roles and the sunlit, lavish mansion of the Park family giving it the perfect backdrop. But just like that, director Bong Joon-ho’s screenplay springs upon us unexpected plot twists and a thrilling run up to a grisly yet astounding climax.
Through a well-crafted maze of events the prevalent class conflict and social disparity come to the fore. The Kim’s are often shown huddled together as a family, gobbling away at their meals and the Park’s are often in their own expansive rooms, almost isolated from each other. In a telling scene, when Mr. Park discusses Mr.Kim’s smell that wafts through the car when he drives, ‘crossing the line’ and reaching the backseat, he describes it as an ‘old rag that has been boiled’ and ‘that smell that people who travel in the subway have’.
It’s evident there is unspoken disdain is on both ends, as Chung sook quips how Yeon-kyo is ‘nice because she is rich.’ With not a moment that seems unnecessary or extra, ‘Parasite’ is exceptionally well-paced and edited (Yang Jin-mo). Director Bong Jon-ho masterfully constructs stylized, dramatic sequences set to a brilliant background score (Jung Jae-il) as the film rapidly moves from one plot point to another. It results in a gripping yet poignant watch. The ensemble cast enhance the proceedings with superlative performances, especially Song Kang-ho, Park So-dam and Choi Woo-shik.
Segment: Movie review (English)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery And Thriller
Original Language: Korean
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Producer: Kwak Sin-ae, Moon Yanggwon
Writer: Bong Joon-ho, Han Jinwon
Release Date (Theaters): Nov 1, 2019
IMDb rating: 8.6/10
Personal rating: 8.8/10
Written by: Ahnaf Al Nasif
Sylhet Cadet College