|Genres:||Comedy, Thriller, Drama|
|Crew:||Screenplay: Bong Joon-ho | Director: Bong Joon-ho | Producer: Bong Joon-ho | Story: Bong Joon-ho | Executive Producer: Miky Lee | Director of Photography: Hong Kyung-pyo | Compositing Artist: Lee Ji-yeon | Theme Song Performance: Choi Woo-shik | Still Photographer: Lee Jae-hyeok | Costume Design: Choi Se-yeon|
All unemployed, Ki-taek's family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks for their livelihood until they get entangled in an unexpected incident.
What makes ‘Parasite’ so satisfying is that it commits neither error. It’s an engrossing, stylish and near perfect movie, and its underlying themes go beyond merely pointing out class exploitation to challenge the logic of capital. Though he is often juggling a mosaic of characters, themes and social issues, Bong never eschews his anarchic impulses and dark humour. It’s a movie that should be seen as widely as possible, if only so that Bong Joon-ho gets more chances to make movies for modern audiences that badly need them. - Jake Watt
Read Jake's full article... https://www.maketheswitch.com.au/article/review-parasite-a-bloodthirsty-and-very-funny-look-at-class-warfare
Head to https://www.maketheswitch.com.au/sff for more Sydney Film Festival reviews.
The working class and down on their luck Kim family struggle to make ends meet. When a friend of the son, Ki-Woo’s, who is an English tutor for the daughter in the wealthy Park family, has to leave his position, he recommends Ki-Woo for the job. Now having an "in" with the wealthy family, the Kims begin plotting the downfall of the current household servants and inserting themselves into those vacant positions, making them all gainfully employed and with money finally flowing into the household. But not everything is as it seems in the Park house or with their previous servants.
This movie starts out as a comedy and quickly goes into social commentary, pointing out the differences between the poor working class family and the wealthy privileged family. The differences are ones that get commonly pointed out with the well-to-do having what usually gets termed as first-world-problems, while the poor family is literally trying to survive and save meager possessions in a flood. It doesn’t shy away or try to be subtle about it, but interestingly enough, we don’t feel beaten over the head with it either, which is a major change from the ham-fisted approach taken by most filmmakers. Couching this in a comedy is a good approach, as well, as the audience’s guard is let down and we become more receptive to the ideas.
However, I do say it’s MOSTLY a comedy. The third act takes a dark, dark turn, and the contrast, not to mention general disdain and even indifference, between the classes becomes much more severe. This gets into some hard territory, and characters that we’ve found quirky and even come to like in some ways show very different sides of themselves. At the same time, it doesn’t feel unexpected, almost like we could tell that this was under the surface all the time and tried to ignore it, but aren’t surprised by it when it does show up. This is some masterful characterization!
Another aspect of note is that this film is rich in allegory and metaphor. It’s a smart film, yet at the same time the filmmakers are not condescending about it. They give the audience credit for being able to understand the symbolism and don’t spoon feed you everything, which is a refreshing change from the usual head-beating most filmmakers go for. At the same time, they understand that not every audience member will understand or immediately pick up on every symbol, but they have crafted this so carefully and so perfectly that you don’t have to understand each and every one. That understanding merely enriches the experience, but isn’t essential to it.
This film has gotten some recognition, and deservedly so. It is rich, intelligent, and polished to a degree that we sadly don’t see as often as we should nowadays, showing the filmmakers are masters of their craft. This is easily one of the best films I’ve seen in 2019. Highly recommended!
This is VERY HIGHLY OVERRATED. The most part of the movie is foul-playing, most of those scenes seem to have been copied from the 1999/old Vijay’s movie: Minsaara Kannan [IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7562630/?ref=nvsrsrsg2], (Warning: This again might be a copy of some other movie as well]. “Morse code” has been used in a much better way in 2017 Ajith’s film: Vivegam [IMDB:https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6878378/?ref=nvsrsrsg0] [Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/film/vivegam/] I just don’t understand what makes this movie so special that it has been appraised so highly. It is not even 10% of the Tamil movies at this level/standard. People who’re praising this movie must start watching Tamil movies instead of Korean, there are so many gems that have gone unnoticed. There is really nothing special in this movie that stands out. Cannot digest that an average movie like this has got so much limelight. Btw: Where does this kinda BS trend start off?
News that Adam McCay is collaborating with Bong Joon Ho to retool Parasite as a Netflix series makes me positively giddy. Parasite is easily the best movie I've seen since the Big Short. Joon Ho's compelling ease of execution alongside the effortless lure of the plot's trappings had me hooked in an instant. I would have been happy watching this family fold pizza boxes for two hours. The story, like the family, takes on a life of its own, rapidly elevating to a setup impossible to sustain. The Bunuelesque occupy-the-rich scheme gleefully, blissfully ascends to lofty heights only, inevitably, to hit the fatal fan. The poor buggers ultimately find themselves literally chin deep in their own sh*t. The hotsy-totsy aristocrats, meanwhile, host a lovely garden party that flips into a tragic Shakespearean bloodbath. It's all fun and games till someone loses a daughter. (Note to the rich: Check the references of new hires and think twice before inviting riffraff to your afternoon functions). Decades in the making, the implosion of a middle income buffer and a widening disparity between social classes make Parasite a must-see for all income brackets. You don't have to be rich or detest or envy the rich to enjoy this instant classic. But please, whatever you do, don't try this a home, folks. Never combine the rich and poor without safety goggles or outside the confines of a controlled and supervised laboratory setting.
"You know what kind of plan that never fails? No plan. No plan at all. You know why? Because life cannot be planned."
'Parasite' is absolutely fantastic. I'm still buzzing how good this movie is. Unpredictable and nuts. You know, this summer I was starting to get a little worn out with the endless sequels, remakes and soulless crash grabs, so I find it refreshing we get movies like this once awhile.
I admire Bong Joon-Ho as a director, especially his Korean movies. Not to say I dislike his English language films like 'Snowpiercer' and 'Okja', but in my personal opinion those don't match the same quality as his Korean movies and there isn't a sex pest trying to control his work. Anywhere, Bong Joon-Ho is one of the best working directors alive and 'Parasite' proves it.
The movie perfectly blends drama and comedy so effortlessly, it basically breaks the impossible. And the comedy is actually hilarious and well written with the execution being sold on the actors. The thing I love so much is how funny, thrilling and intense the movie can be, hijacking all senses and emotions all wrapped into one - only a few directors can pull something this unique.
The performances from everyone was brilliant and there's so much depth to each character, they make the movie as captivating as it is. The cinematography was beautiful, the music was remarkable, and the movie says so much it's the reason why I was engaged throughout.
I highly recommend people to avoid knowing anything before going in, because trust me it will add to your experience.
Overall rating: Finally, a breath of fresh air. My second favorite movie of this year.
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Yes, I know. I'm late as hell. I don't really have anything to offer you besides my personal opinion. Theses and video essays are breaking down Parasite at such a deep level that I can't really write anything new. Nevertheless, I'll share my thoughts on it because it would be a massive miss from someone who considers himself as a film critic. I had this movie on my watchlist since last summer, but I kept delaying it, underestimating my time. So, no, I'm not just watching Parasite because it won Best Picture at the Oscars, I always planned on it.
In addition to that, yes, I also love it like most people, and no, I'm not writing this because I'm "following the pack". Bong Joon Ho simply delivered one of 2019's best films, and it's definitely cracking a spot in my Top10. I really enjoyed what Bong did with Okja, and I'm a massive fan of Snowpiercer. Therefore, this isn't just another South Korean flick. It's directed and co-written by someone who has been proving himself for quite some time. Even though I still defend that Sam Mendes deserved to win Best Director for his work on 1917, I'm more than happy that a foreign movie finally won Best Picture, and what a film to do it!
It can be described as a dark dramedy, but I think social satire is more adequate. The differences between the rich and the poor are beautifully shown on-screen exclusively through visuals. There's so little exposition, which is one of the reasons why Parasite has one of 2019's best screenplays. The balance between explaining something and leaving it ambiguous is perfect. Throughout the runtime, Bong Joon Ho leans on an actor's face so that the audience can understand what that character is feeling through its expressions, which will explain its actions later on.
There's a sequence that surely has been heavily discussed for the past months. It's raining, and Bong cleverly divides the screen with how the wealthy family is dealing with it against the poor neighborhood where the Kim family comes from. The gorgeous cinematography, the unforgettable musical score, the seamless editing... Everything about this sequence is technically flawless, and it carries such an emotionally powerful message. Something astonishing and beautiful to look at for some can be a horrible disaster for others.
It's a movie that balances a lot of tones. In ten minutes, the tone goes from funny to dramatic to suspenseful to scary to absolute tragedy... and it all feels incredibly realistic. That's one of my major compliments to Parasite: I never felt like it was fiction. I never thought "this is too much, this would never occur". Even in the third act, where the narrative takes some bold decisions, everything makes sense with what had been shown until then. From shocking character actions to surprising plot points, Bong and Han Jin-won's screenplay is excellent.
Everyone in the cast is fantastic, but Song Kang-ho is the standout, in my opinion. His role as the father of the Kim family is brilliant. I'm actually surprised he wasn't nominated for Best Actor in more award shows. I created a connection with this family in such a way that the ending truly impacted me. It's tough to deny that the writing is what makes Parasite the phenomenon that so many people fell in love with, myself included.
Technically, I don't have any defects to point out. It's one of those films that I firmly believe in having virtually no flaws. I'm in love with the score, I gasped several times at the impressive cinematography, and the editing is perfect. Whatever genre the story decides to go to, it's always entertaining and extremely captivating. Its comedy is very smart, and it made me laugh a lot of times. Its dramatic storylines kept my eyes always focused on what was happening. Even when it briefly delves into the horror territory, it's more suspenseful and scary than most of that genre's flicks nowadays.
All in all, Parasite genuinely surprised me. With so many people hyping it to a ridiculously high level, my expectations were very moderate. Nevertheless, I love it as much or more as everyone else. I know that watching it this late can make some people question my opinion/rating, but I would never love a movie because I "should" or because other people do. It deserves every award it received, especially the ones concerning the screenplay. It's one of the best original stories of the last few years, and it's written in such a brilliant manner, with beautiful visual storytelling instead of the overused exposition. An emotionally resonant message is present throughout the whole runtime, and the various tones are balanced seamlessly. Technically flawless: cinematography, score, editing... everything's absolutely perfect. Nothing is placed without purpose. Not a single line of dialogue is wasted. Bong Joon Ho is a phenomenal filmmaker, one that cares about the art and everything that comes with it. He truly put his heart and soul into this, and it would be a shame if anyone fails to watch this magnificent movie just because it's in a foreign language. Please, don't make such an awful mistake...
Decent enough dark comedy/thriller, with nice performances and an engaging story, though not entirely sure it was Best Picture worthy though reserving judgment as I've only seen one other nominee, Joker which I loved but not worthy of a BP.
I don't know, maybe I'm a bit disappointed given the awards the film won and my viewpoint would've been different seeing it a couple weeks back. As it is, had some entertaining and thrilling moments, but emotionally can't say I was invested... 3.75/5
An uncategorisable masterpiece
We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service – two dishes, but to one table.
What is one to make of the utterly uncategorisable and impossible-to-define Gisaengchung [Parasite]? Only the third film to win both the Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Picture, after Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend (1945) and Delbert Mann's Marty (1955), Parasite is one of the best-reviewed films of the century thus far and caused huge waves when it became the first non-English language film to win Best Picture. Co-writer and director Bong Joon-ho also tied with Walt Disney for the most Oscars awarded to one person in one night – four (Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay). On top of that, he became the first person in history to win more than three Oscars for a single film. In short, Parasite has had a significant, and relatively unexpected, impact.
But what exactly is Parasite? Described on its official website as a "pitch-black modern fairy-tale", even a comprehensive plot summary wouldn't adequately delineate its real nature – part comedy of manners, part social satire, part heist film, part thriller, part horror, part family drama, part farce, part economic treatise, part social realism, part tragedy, part allegory. And that's just the opening scene! It's the Ulysses of cinema, adopting and shedding genres so often and so seamlessly that it effectively becomes its own genre. And, like Ulysses, it's exceptional in just about every way – screenplay (co-written by Bong and Han Jin-won), directing, cinematography, mise en scène, editing, production design, sound design, score, acting. There's not a weak link here, in a film that achieves that rarest of things – it lives up to the hype.
The Kim family are down on their luck. Father Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), mother Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-jin), daughter Ki-jeong (Park So-dam), and son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) reside in a tiny basement apartment, with their only window looking out onto a popular urination spot in a back alley. With all four unemployed, they eke out a meagre living folding pizza boxes for a nearby restaurant. However, their fortunes change when Ki-Woo meets Min-hyuk (Park Seo-joon), a childhood friend who is now at university. Min-hyuk works as an English tutor for the daughter of a wealthy family, but he's soon to leave Korea, and so suggests that Ki-Woo take over. Armed with a fake diploma created by Ki-jeong on Photoshop, Ki-Woo successfully applies for the job. The Park family, father Dong-ik, (Lee Sun-kyun), mother Yeon-gyo (Cho Yeo-jeong), daughter Da-hye (Jung Ji-so), and son Da-song (Jung Hyeon-jun), welcomes Ki-woo into their lavish home, and upon discovering just how wealthy the Parks are, the Kims hatch an elaborate scheme to oust the Park's current domestic staff and take their places. And so, hiding the fact that they're all related, Ki-taek is hired as a chauffeur, Chung-Sook as a housekeeper, and Ki-jeong as an art therapist for Da-song. However, it doesn't take long before things start to go very, very awry for both families, in ways none of them (or the audience) could ever have imagined.
We live in an era where wealth is distributed upwards and the gap between the haves and have-nots is wider than ever. According to inequality.org, the richest 1% of the world's population controls 45% of global wealth. At the same time, adults with less than $10,000 capital make up 64% of the population and control less than 1% of the wealth. In 2018, Oxfam reported that the wealth of the 26 richest people in the world was equal to the combined wealth of the 3.5 billion poorest people. This is the milieu of Parasite, a film which taps into some of the same ideological thinking as gave rise to "Hell Joseon" sentiments, wherein up to 75% of Koreans aged 19-34 want to leave the country.
Obviously enough, Bong's main themes are class division and class conflict, the artificiality of societal hierarchy, and the concomitant social inequality and differentiation in status that makes such a hierarchy possible in the first place. As thoroughly entertaining (and funny) as the film is, it remains, in essence, an economic treatise, albeit with a savagely satirical quality. However, make no mistake, this is a satire with teeth – the hilarity and playfulness of the long first act give way to a darker political vibe in the second, before Bong violently deconstructs his own allegory in the emotionally draining and batshit insane third act, ultimately driving the knife home in an epilogue that's about as different from the film's early scenes as you could imagine. Of course, this is far from the first time Bong has dealt with issues of class, touching obliquely on similar themes in Sarinui Chueok [Memories of Murder] (2003), Gwoemul [The Host] (2006), and Madeo [Mother] (2009). Parasite's engagement with class and economics, however, is far more overt, aligning it with Bong's English-language work, Snowpiercer (2013) and Okja (2015). Never before, however, has he been this caustic, this acerbic, but so too this compassionate, this witty. Indeed, Parasite feels like a culmination, the film to which he's been building for his entire career.
In the film's press notes, Bong states;
I think that one way to portray the continuing polarisation and inequality of our society is as a sad comedy. We are living in an era when capitalism is the reigning order, and we have no other alternative. It's not just in Korea, but the entire world faces a situation where the tenets of capitalism cannot be ignored. In the real world, the paths of families like our four unemployed protagonists and the Park family are unlikely ever to cross. The only instance is in matters of employment between classes, as when someone is hired as a tutor or a domestic worker. In such cases there are moments when the two classes come into close enough proximity to feel each other's breath. In this film, even though there is no malevolent intention either side, the two classes are pulled into a situation where the slightest slip can lead to fissures and eruptions. In today's capitalistic society there are ranks and castes that are invisible to the eye. We keep them disguised and out of sight, and superficially look down on class hierarchies as a relic of the past, but the reality is that there are class lines that cannot be crossed.
In this manner, the film works as a literalisation of the theory that co-existence between the various classes is becoming increasingly difficult; the Kims and the Parks aren't simply differentiated due to wealth, rather they live in completely different worlds and have vastly different, and largely incompatible, ideologies.
One of the most deftly-handled elements of the film is Bong's avoidance of the clichés one so often finds in films dealing with economics – the Kims are by no means the default protagonists, a victimised family immediately worthy of sympathy, whilst the Parks are by no means the default antagonists, a callous family immediately worthy of scorn. Rather, the Parks are depicted as perfectly friendly and pleasant whilst the Kims are shown to be liars and scoundrels. Indeed, it's the Kims who are the more crassly materialistic of the two families – obsessed with their mobile phones and WhatsApp, we first meet them as they're wandering around their apartment, phones held aloft, trying to pick up their neighbour's WiFi signal. Later, as they ingratiate themselves with the Parks and acquire more and more access to a wealthy lifestyle, all four Kims start to carry themselves differently, as if being in such proximity to wealth has had a physiological effect.
There are no heroes and villains here – Bong is uninterested in trucking in black and white oppositions because such rigid diametrics aren't the norm in the real world. For all their scheming and lying, the Kims merely con their way into menial jobs, trying to earn enough to make survival a little easier. As for the Parks, their wealth has insulated them from the world of families such as the Kims, but their greatest crimes are disconnection and ignorance, nothing more. At the same time, the Kims are depicted as a far more unified and loving family than the Parks. Although all four Kims regularly occupy the same frame, to the best of my recollection, we never see the four Parks together in the same shot; Da-hye and Da-song rarely leave their rooms, Yeon-gyo spends most of her time in the kitchen and living room, and Dong-ik is seen most regularly in his car. It's a wonderful bit of cinematic shorthand to convey a thematic point, with Bong utilising the visual component of the medium to maximum effect – this is a filmmaker who knows precisely what he's doing.
It's in relation to the two family's status as heroes or villains that the film's title is so important. Strictly speaking, the Korean title, "기생충" ("gisaengchung"), means "helminth" rather than "parasite", but as a helminth is a parasitic worm, the slight difference in the translation isn't a big deal. In any case, a parasitic organism such as a helminth lives in or on a host and takes its nourishment from that host. A simple reading of this is that the Kims are the parasites and the Parks are the hosts, with the Kims feeding off the Parks' wealth and status. However, in a film where nothing is as it seems, things aren't that simple. Bong depicts the Parks as parasites as well – they've been rendered relatively helpless by their wealth, unable to complete basic tasks such as driving or cleaning without the assistant of working-class employees; i.e. they sustain themselves based off of the labour of their servants. And so, just as the Kims feed off the Parks, the Parks feed off the Kims, in what quickly becomes a symbiotic relationship. Concerning this issue, in his Director's Statement, Bong says,
it is increasingly the case in this sad world that humane relationships based on co-existence or symbiosis cannot hold, and one group is pushed into a parasitic relationship with another. In the midst of such a world, who can point their finger at a struggling family, locked in a fight for survival, and call them parasites? It's not that they were parasites from the start. They are our neighbours, friends and colleagues, who have merely been pushed to the edge of a precipice.
However, as strong as the film is narratively and thematically, it also has an aesthetic design to die for. Hong Kyung-pyo's cinematography, for example, is magnificent. Hong also shot Lee Chang-dong's superb Beoning (2018), and the camerawork here has a similar smoothness and restlessness, gliding through the Parks house like it's a fifth member of the Kim family. Lee Ha-jun's production design is also praise-worthy, with the Kims' and Parks' living conditions contrasted in every way; the Parks live in a pristine post-modernist semi-open plan house, accessible only by an electronically controlled gate, and hidden from the street by tall trees and dense shrubs; the Kims, on the other hand, live in a cluttered and dilapidated apartment with barely any room, their toilet situated beside the aforementioned window looking into an alley.
It's also in relation to production design wherein one of the film's best metaphors is to be found, which is also a great example of just how much of a masterwork this is, how completely Bong is in control of his craft. As a film at least partly in the tradition of the "upstairs/downstairs" subgenre (think James Ivory's The Remains of the Day or Robert Altman's Gosford Park), Bong literalises the separation between those above and those below insofar as stairways are a recurring motif. The Kims live in a basement apartment without stairs, mirroring their stagnation and inability to rise in a socio-economic sense. On the other hand, the Parks' lavish home has two main stairways – one going up, the other going down into the cellar. As Ki-jeong and Ki-woo gain more access to Da-song and Da-hye, they start to spend most of their time upstairs. Ki-taek and Chung-sook, however, along with Dong-ik and Yeon-gyo, spend most of their time downstairs, indicating a fissure between the adults and their children. The stairway to the cellar is its own unique animal, with Bong shooting it like he's suddenly directing a horror film (there's a thematic reason for this that I can't go into without spoilers). In this way, he bestows upon it an ominousness that, at first, makes little sense, but ultimately reveals itself to be a spectacular bit of foreshadowing. There's also a third stairway in the Park home, one not revealed until late in the second act, but one which has huge narrative and thematic importance.
Parasite is a masterpiece, with Bong, operating at the peak of his abilities, never putting a foot wrong. It could have been a self-serving and didactic message-movie – a homily to the honour of the poor or a deconstruction of the unhappiness of the rich – but Bong is far too talented for that, avoiding rhetorical cant, and allowing the film to find its own space. Quite unlike anything I've ever seen, it works as allegory just as well as it works as social realism just as well as it works as comedy just as well as it works as tragedy, and so on. This is cinema as art; it's the best Palme d'Or winner since Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life in 2011 and the best Best Picture winner since Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves in 1990. Bong is currently working with HBO to develop a limited series English-language adaptation, which fills me with dread, but no matter what happens with that project, no matter how good (or bad) it may be, here in 2020, Parasite has proven itself very much a game-changer, a film that deserves every bit of praise it's received.
First of all it's a masterpiece, it's shows how the higher class actually judge the lower class people. At it looks like a normal story of a family who all are struggling hard to live, but their life gets changed when all four of them one by one get employed in park's house. After sometime we also got to see the frustration and anger of Kim family on park family because they were judged by them.their were no unnecessarily plot twist in the film which led the film very smoothly. All over it's a must watch film.
"We all live in the same country... called capitalism."
Final rating:★★★★ - Very strong appeal. A personal favourite.
What starts as a seemingly simple premise quickly unfolds into much more. I didn't expect an enhanced perspective into my own life, but that's just what happened. Parasite is a timely analysis of the ever-increasing divide between rich and poor, all while being witty enough to make for an exhilarating ride.
One of the funniest and most disturbing films I've ever seen. Probably some of the best cinematography ever. 10/10
Despite hearing about this from day dot, I thankfully managed to avoid knowing anything about this other than it's title, director and subsequent success. Boy am I glad, because it's quite the ride!
No doubt about it, 'Parasite' is a high quality film. It wasn't at all what I had assumed it would be like, it has a much more comedic side to it than I was expecting - and that's a positive. Yet, it's still pretty dark. It's a great mix. The plot is one that is very entertaining to see play out - the ending is particularly nuts.
The cast do a fantastic job, especially the main quartet. Song Kang-ho would be my personal standout, I enjoyed watching him throughout. Choi Woo-shik is very good too, as are Park So-dam and Jang Hye-jin. All of the onscreen talent do terrific though, from Cho Yeo-jeong to Lee Jung-eun.
I don't have any negatives for this, it's a brilliant film. From the cinematography, to the dialogue, to the locations, to the humour. You name it, this produces it on an impressive level.
Not that I need to say this, given I'm seemingly one of the last few who hadn't, but you must watch this!
Parasite is fantastic.
It's clever. It's funny. It's disturbing. And yes, there is a powerful underlying theme of the divide between rich and poor. But the latter is so deftly weaved into the fabric of the story, you really don't think about it much until a fateful scene before the last act.
It fully deserved the Oscar for Best Picture and Director. If only for the peach fuzz fight scene.