I’m going to try and keep spoilers to a minimum in this review because if you haven’t already seen Parasite, watching it without knowing anything will make it a far more entertaining experience. Enjoy!
Recently, I got a very good present – a book of 1001 movies you have to watch before you die. So, I’ve set it as my life’s work to review every single one. It’s a difficult job, but someone’s got to do it. Parasite was already on my list, but its inclusion in the book made me jump to the review. Does Parasite hold up to the award winning hype, or was it blown way out of proportion?
The film is based around the unemployed Kim family who slowly but surely infiltrate their richer counterparts, the Parks. They end up all working in the same house, but soon their reckless plans catch up with them, and they struggle to deal with the repercussions.
I have to say, this is a very good film. It’s devastatingly original and a thoroughly enjoyable watch. The social commentary is very interesting, and something I’ll revisit. It’s hard to ground Parasite to one genre. To be honest, it really covers every genre you could think of. There’s thriller in there, a little bit of romance, a lot of crime, a dash of comedy and I wouldn’t argue against even horror (don’t ask about the basement). This is not a criticism – it’s praise. In a way, Parasite has almost created its own genre. That’s pretty cool.
I also think the screenwriting was superb. There really isn’t a boring scene or needless line. Every single one has a meaning, and it is vitally important you listen for any clues you can get. I started watching Lupin recently, the French thriller series. Why didn’t I like it? Because it didn’t respect the audience. It felt like it had to explain everything because we wouldn’t be able to work out. Parasite trusts us. And, as the viewer, I appreciate that.
I think there’s also a rewatchability factor. It works on many levels. Take the title, for instance. The obvious answer to what that means is that the Kim family are the parasites, an organism that lives on or in a host organism and gets its food from or at the expense of its host. But because the film is so thickly layered there’s an argument that you could look at it the other way round – the rich Park family leech off the poor family’s labour as the parasite.
I can understand why this film may not appeal to everyone. There isn’t really a moral centre. Y’know, the Hollywood shtick: the good guys, the bad guys… they wouldn’t make this without significant changes, unfortunately. Everyone’s compass is askew and it severely highlights the problems in society. This film could have simply been a heist gone wrong, but due to brave choices, it became something far deeper. I don’t think it’s unfair to say it’s one of the best films of the last decade. How many great films have there been in this period?
Okay, from this point on I’ll be discussing the ending. That means…
SPOILERS SPOLIERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
I hope that’s clear:
Do not read on. I’m giving you a chance.
Get outta here, goddammit!
Alright, buckle yourself on…
The ending is very clever. There is an exaggerated blood bath at the party, where many key characters die, including Ki-Taek killing Mr Park. Why does he do it? Now this is where the social commentary comes in. Mr Park constantly talks about “crossing the line”. It’s a deliberately ambiguous phrase which, once again, respectfully lets the viewer decide. It can be interpreted as divulging into Mr Park’s privacy, going one step too far.
But I think it’s really to do his view on his family and the Kims. This imaginary line is almost the border between the rich and poor – a wall. Mr Park is very happy with his place in the world, while Ki-Taek is on the other side of the wall. They feel like four unemployed adults just waiting for that golden ticket that never comes.
Mr Park likes this wall. He treats people on the otherside like they’re a different species. It’s why he comments on the smell of Ki-Taek, describing it like a “boiled rag”, as if he’s not even human. You could clearly see his rage boiling over. He’s just tired of being trod on repeatedly. There’s a scene in the living room where the Kim family are gathered. Choong-Sook jokes that Ki-Taek is just like a cockroach. He shoves the bottles off the table and grabs her shirt. They claim is was a joke, but beneath it all, there’s an element of truth. He feels like he is a cockroach. When Geun-se comes to kill his family at the party, he’s disgusted by the rich guests caring only for themselves and their family. We see them run and scream, happy to let his family die if it saves themselves.
And he realises he isn’t the cockroach. The Parks are. They are the ones who reek – of greed, of selfishness, of ignorance.
So he kills the what he imagines is manifestation of the rich.
I loved that he went on to live in the basement, just like Geun-se before him. That’s what film making is all about. They eventually got their golden ticket. But what they didn’t realise was that if Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was realistic, four of those children would have died, and Willy Wonka would have been diagnosed with Schizotypal Personality Disorder and been sent to a mental health institution.
So, in conclusion?
Do you agree with me? What did you think of Parasite? Was it sensational or sensationalised? Say in the comments below!
Parasite – 8.5 out of 10