Movie Review: Parasite (2019)

By Ameerah Angelina

Warning: Minor spoilers up ahead!

If you haven’t heard of “Parasite” – the 2019 movie directed by Bong Joon-ho- where have you been?

This movie is the first Korean film to receive the Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival last year. It also won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 77th Golden Globe Awards, along with another four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film. With all these accolades, is “Parasite” really worth the hype? 

Receiving an 8.6/10 rating on IMDb and a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, “Parasite” has received global critical approval that majorly applauded Bong Joon-ho’s screenplay and direction, cinematography, editing and production values, and the actors’ convincing performances.

This “South Korean black comedy thriller” film -as Wikipedia describes it- is filled with so many unexpected turns of events that are bound to keep you on the edge of your seats with its unpredictability. 

The film starts off with a family of four who lives in a cramped semi-basement apartment and barely scrapes by on odd, but humble, jobs like folding pizza boxes for a pizza company as both parents are unemployed.

Despite living with the bare minimum, the family remains optimistic as they go about their life with the two teenage children, Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) and Kim Ki-jung (Park So-dam), who would crouch in the weirdest places -like near the toilet- just to get free Wi-Fi from a nearby shop, and their father, Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), who would leave the windows open during a bug-killing street fumigation for a free pesticide control in their home. The family’s antics at the beginning of the movie serves as a comedic relief that leaves us surprised with what’s to come. 

The son, Ki-woo, soon landed a job as an English tutor for Park Da-hye (Jung Ziso), the daughter of their wealthy counterparts, the Park family. With a major upgrade in the family’s income, Ki-woo first devised a very clever and manipulative plan, as if on the spot, to get his sister, Kim Ki-jung to be the therapeutic arts teacher to the Parks’ younger son, Park Da-song (Jung Hyun-jun). Before long, the entire Kim family is working for the Parks. 

At this point in the story, we may think we have the title all figured out; that this is a dark comedy revolving around the often-forgotten members of society who outsmarts those on the other end of the economic spectrum through deceitful wiles, reaping all of the benefits, like parasites. But instead of ending there, Bong takes us on even more unexpected turns that leave us surprised, scared, and worried as the movie dramatically shifts to a thriller.

What starts off as an exhilarating comedy ends in startling bloodshed, and long after we have finished the movie, we are still left with the mind-opening question: Who is the real parasite? 

Nothing in this movie is black and white. There’s no real villain or hero. This movie peels back the layer of privilege, exposing both the good and bad in people from both ends of the economic spectrum. 

This is a movie everyone should have the chance to watch without any prior knowledge and be mind-blown by all of its surprises. For this reason, I’ve tried my best to keep the spoilers to the bare minimum, giving all of you only a snippet of what Parasite is about. 

So if you have yet to watch this film, give it a go as it is definitely a cinematic masterpiece. ***

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