The parasite is a masterpiece and deserves to win the best film than any other movie. Parasite is a masterpiece and deserves to win the best film than any other movie.
It’s not unfamiliar territory for Bong Joon Ho. After all, Snowpiercer‘s climate-disaster train was an allegory for the erosion of justice and equality in the elite’s effort at ‘balance’.
But the South Korean filmmaker’s retreat from bleak dystopia carries a much heavier toll. Foremost, Parasite is an extraordinary piece of cinema – but it’s also a rich commentary on class warfare and the curse of high-life dreams.
Beneath the bread line, we have the Kims – a family united in their poverty, slithering from chance to chance and always online. In the immediate moments of meeting them, their greatest concern is not one of food or place, but WiFi. ‘No WhatsApp?’ asks a panicked Chung-sook (Chang Hyae Jin), the ultra-cleaning, cloth-in-hand mum.
Their home is a titchy basement apartment, peering out through steel bars onto Seoul’s backstreets, flowing with dirty air and drunken ragamuffins. Their only internet access is gifted upon them from above – genuinely, as siblings Ki-woo (Choi Woo Shik) and Ki-jung (Park So Dam) hop up onto a toilet to secure a crumb of signal from a password-less modem.
As the mild-mannered, loving patriarch, Ki-taek (Song Kang Ho, in another collaboration with Bong) keeps the head when others falter. For example, as street fumigators let loose outside, a move to shut the windows is met with ‘No, free extermination!’ as he continues to fold pizza boxes in the smog, grafting in an economy where thousands of graduates apply for security guard posts.
Upstairs and beyond are the Parks, living in a Grand Designs sanctuary of glass, grass and art deco finesse (envisioned with an effective blend of CGI and the most breathtakingly intricate production design you’ll ever relish), previous home to its own architect.
Yeon-gyo (Cho Yeo Jeong) is a bit ‘simple’ – a naive housewife, a worrying mum focused on her son’s ‘eccentric genius’ and his love of the pseudo-Native American, while her daughter Da-hye (Jung Ziso) is left a little sidelined. Meanwhile, their dad Dong-ik (Lee Sun Kyun) operates a regimented life: white-collar work, ferried home and a home-cooked meal via the loyal housekeeper (Lee Jung Eun).