K-Movie Review: “Parasite” Puts a Spotlight On The Disparity Between Social Classes
The 2019 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or awardee was eloquent in highlighting the great divide between rich and poor.
Parasite has no major twists and plot bends. What it has was a seamless showing of a reality that two families, poles apart in social economic status, are living differently. Director and writer Bong Joon Ho’s latest offering is a lot more realistic and contemporary. It gave off a sense that the characters could be someone you know.
The story revolves around two families who are as different as night and day, especially in the financial aspect. Ki Taek (Song Kang Ho) and Chung Sook (Jang Hye Jin) live together with their children. Blessed with a son, Ki Woo (Choi Woo Sik), and a daughter, Ki Jung (Park So Dam). They were housed in a cramped semi-basement apartment.
None of them holds a permanent work. They do a mediocre job with the one they have (folding pizza boxes). An opportunity comes their way through Ki Woo’s well-off friend (a cameo role from Park Seo Joon) Min Hyuk. He recommended him to the family of the teenage girl he is tutoring as he is about to go overseas.
Ki Woo meets Yeon Kyo (Cho Yeo Jeong), the impressionable mother of the teenage girl he will teach. From her, he learns that their son also needs an art tutor. He puts in a recommendation for his sister, but conceals their true relationship. The siblings did not stop from there as they somehow manage to have their parents enter the affluent Park household as employees, without the family knowing their connection.
Ki Taek’s family starts to integrate themselves into their employers’ lives and envision that somehow they belong. The conflict arises when the former housekeeper came back and discovered Ki Taek’s family secret. She threatens to reveal the truth, and with their backs against the wall, they try everything to ensure it will not happen.
Parasite Movie Takeaway
The movie started off slow but eventually picked up pace towards the middle until the final sequence. Anticipating for how and when the Park family would know what was happening inside their house was quite engaging. There were moments when viewers could feel empathy towards the housekeeper and Ki Taek’s family, as both were victims of their circumstances. You will also feel anger and hatred towards the characters on some of their actions but at the end you will realize they were reacting based on their situations.
Parasite employed dark humor to further draw attention to the characters and showed how the other half lives. Park family, despite their naiveté and niceness, showed they could not identify with the people on the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. The father (Lee Sun Kyun) kept on hammering about not crossing the line, clearly drawing a boundary between him and his employee. They also mock the so-called smell of those who take regular commute, noticeably distancing themselves from marginalized people. It was just casual talk for them, however, they failed to think that they might hurt someone’s pride.
Ki Taek, together with his family, was tired of living in poverty that much was evident all throughout the movie. Perhaps the opportunity to live a better life did not come their way enough for them to do so. Ki Woo and Ki Jung are talented and have so much potential, it was just they did not put it to good use. Maybe they wanted to get out of it the easy way because they have been through enough, but did not think of the consequences.
The commotion towards the end was a fitting imagery to represent how chaotic the state of being each character was in. The core in which such divide exist is a glaring reality because it actually happens. The rich can have all the things they want, fill themselves to the brim but still something will be lacking. While the poor tried their best to keep themselves afloat and survive, can only dream of the lives they could have. Ki Woo realized that to achieve something in life, he has to work diligently for it. Life is hard regardless of your upbringing or circumstance and Parasite just depicted that best.
Parasite started its regular screening exclusively in SM Cinemas on August 14.
Images from CJ Entertainment Facebook page.
Hellokpop extends gratitude to Viva International Pictures for the invites to the special screening.