Film: Hayley Murden
Winner of best picture at the 2020 Academy Awards, Parasite (2019) is an engaging dark comedy that builds to a shocking climax.
Masterfully directed by Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Memories of Murder), the film has made history as the first South Korean movie to win at Palme d’Or at Cannes and, as well as taking the top prize, also took the statues for best director, best screenplay and best international film at the Oscars.
Imbued with the themes of rich versus poor social inequality and the divide between class, Parasite tells the story of a family (father, mother, son and daughter) who forge documents, identities and skills to become tutor, housekeeper, driver and child psychologist for a wealthy and easily deceived family.
Tired of low paying, temporary work and their squalid basement flat, they manipulate their way into the lives and home of their targets and quickly accumulate money, as well as becoming comfortable enough to make use of the enviable home while the rich family is away.
They drink their alcohol, eat their food and dream about one day owning the house themselves. However, as they leech from their employers, they in turn are used for the things they offer and then looked down upon.
Trouble comes in the form of the previous housekeeper, whose dismissal they engineered, who returns to reveal a startling secret of her own. From that point, the plot and the characters begin to spiral out of control.
Aided by composer Jung Jae-il’s brilliant and dramatic score, the film provides laughs and shocks in turn, as well as moments of incredible tension. The performances are authentic and uniformly good, each actor giving their all, and though there is no truly likeable character there is some sympathy to be had for most of them.
Parasite is an original and clever film which will hook the viewer quickly and keep them entertained throughout. Though the ending could have been more abrupt and concise, it is haunting. Highly recommended.
(Rated 15, 2hrs 12mins)