Parasite is a Korean film about a family down on their luck who take interest in a wealthy family that they soon learn they can con into working for them. 2019 is turning out to be an incredible year for films and Parasite may be the best this year. The year is not even over with so many films I’m dying to see and still between Parasite and The Lighthouse, these two films are some of the best I’ve seen in a few years. I already gave it away, but I freaking loved Parasite. Bong Joon-Ho is a director I need to keep my eye out for. I’ve only seen one of his previous films, Snowpiercer, but after Parasite, I’m itching to dive into his career. Parasite was so clever and genuinely funny and takes a crazy turn midway through that surprised me and drew me to the edge of my seat. This is an incredible film.
To nail down the genre of this film is very difficult. The best way I’ve heard it described as a comedy that turns into a thriller that ends in a Shakespearean tragedy. If that doesn’t intrigue you I don’t know what will. But what the film is trying to say in its theme is a story of economic class and the stigma set between a wealthy and low-class family. The story follows a low-class family struggling to get any kind of foothold to get them ahead in life. They fold pizza boxes together as a family for an income, they live in a small basement on a street where drunk people go to urinate. When a fumigation truck comes by, they open their windows to let in the harsh chemical gas into their home to get free fumigation. This is a smart family who struggles to get ahead and when an opportunity comes for one of them to tutor a wealthy highschool student, they quickly find ways for the whole family to get high paying jobs working for this wealthy family by conning and lying to them. I loved watching these characters work together and interact together. Their chemistry felt like a real family who knew how to fool people well. The whole first half of the film was funny and clever in the ways this family was able to con the wealthy family. But when a sudden and unexpected event happens, the film becomes grippingly intense and serious.
The whole last half of the film becomes all too real for this lower-class family who now has to deal with a problem way over their heads. Parasite becomes a thriller at a certain point and even borderline horror film. The event that happens feels so realistic and that’s what makes this so chilling. It feels like something like this could happen and that’s why it’s so unsettling about the last half of the movie. As I mentioned, as crazy as the tone shifts in this film are, Parasite has an incredible theme about class that will cut deep. This effective theme is explored masterfully with beautiful cinematography and a remarkable script that slowly reveals itself to us. This theme is never a struggle characters need to say out loud or tell us how they feel, we experience everything the characters feel with them. The class diversity is shown by having the wealthy family live in their own secluded home kept high up, protected by a perimeter fence. Whereas the lower-class family quick literally lives lower than the wealthy. To get to their home they travel down many flights of stairs throughout the city to where they are so low that when it rains their home floods.
Parasite is easily one of the best films I’ve seen in the past few years. It is an incredibly creative story of class and diversity told in an engaging narrative that hooked me from start to finish. If foreign films aren’t your thing or you don’t like subtitles, I highly recommend you stretch yourself and try something new. Parasite is the perfect film for you to go out and try something new, something you wouldn’t normally watch. Don’t miss one of the year’s best films because of it.