“Parasite" stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Chang Hyae-jin, Jeong Ji-so, and Jung Hyeon-jun. Released in South Korea on May 30, 2019, the film has a poor family attempting to work for a wealthier family.
The film is directed by Bong Joon-ho, who also directed films such as “The Host”, “Snowpiercer”, and “Okja”. I once thought that I’ve seen enough movies that are nominated for an Oscar this year. When I found out that this film is finally showing at my closest theater, I realized that my quest is far from over. Out of the nine Best Picture nominees I have watched this year, I have only seen eight of them. Guess which ninth film I missed. This latest project from acclaimed Korean director Bong Joon-ho is the only Best Picture nominee that I have not witnessed for myself…until now. I was originally planning on seeing this back in October, but due to personal reasons, it was not to be. Three months later, I received a sign that states it was my destiny to see all of the films that are nominated for Best Picture at this year's Oscars, and that sign is that “Parasite” is showing at my closest cinema this weekend. Considering the fact that it earned six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, it makes total sense. With no time to waste, I took the opportunity to visit it and see if it’s worth the high praise.
The film’s story follows the Kim family, which consists of father Kim Ki-taek (Kang-ho), mother Chung-sook (Hyae-jin), son Ki-woo (Woo-shik), and daughter Ki-jeong (So-dam). The Kim family is struggling to earn money from their low-paying jobs. When Ki-woo poses as a university student to take over his friend’s job as an English tutor for Da-hye (Ji-so), the daughter of the wealthy Park family, the rest of the Kim family follow suit by posing as sophisticated skilled workers and integrating themselves into the Parks’ lives. While enjoying the Park family’s luxuries, the Kims discover a shocking secret that could put their whole plan in jeopardy. It's a film that showcases not just the two different types of class (the poor and the rich), but also the consequences of chasing greed and making poor choices to achieve that goal. Once you get used to the English subtitles and its excessive runtime, you'll find that this film brilliantly represents its social themes by providing a compelling and intense plot that combines dark comedy with nerve-wrecking thrills. The main reason for its thrills has to be the tension-filled buildup. Similar to “Joker” and “The Lighthouse”, “Parasite” has Bong Joon-ho inviting his audience to the film’s world and introducing them to its characters. Once the plot kicks in, he provided plenty of intense moments that kept them engaged until the shocking finale. That’s pretty much my experience with this film. This is an extremely well-crafted piece of work that’s both entertaining and meaningful. Bong Joon-ho has a unique sense of vision that’s fascinating to witness due to his direction and his top-notch screenplay. He understood the qualities of making a heart-pounding and darkly humorous thriller without losing sight on its social commentary. Everything about his craft is nothing but artistic and riveting, ranging from its cinematography to the stellar production design. Speaking of production design, I want to mention that the Park family’s house looked amazing, both inside and outside. If I were to live on my own, I would love to live in the house like that. The main cast who portrayed the two families were all great in their roles, especially Kang-ho as Kim Ki-taek. Despite them being a group of unknowns, they sure do know how to make their presence known with their acting talents. I also thought the musical score by Jung Jae-il was nicely executed in terms of the film’s dark comedy and subtle thrills. It’s not memorable enough to be Oscar-worthy like the music from “Joker” and “1917”, but it’s respectable in its own right.
Overall, “Parasite” works as both a nerve-wrecking and beautifully-shot thrill ride and a brilliant viewpoint on a poor family’s attempt to gain wealth. From its flawless cast to the technical aspects, Bong Joon-ho continues to showcase his remarkable talent as a determined filmmaker with a deeply appealing masterpiece that will satisfy everyone who’s into international cinema. Now that I have finally seen every film that is nominated for Best Picture, I am now set to take on this year’s Oscars. Bring it on.