Direction: Joon-ho Bong
Country: South Korea
South Korean filmmaker Joon-ho Bong was meritoriously elevated to cult status due to masterworks such as Memories of Murder (2003), Mother (2009), and Snowpiercer (2013). Two years ago, he made a shift in direction with the imaginative action-adventure film Okja, returning in big this year with another witty and gritty invention called Parasite, a virulent mix of crime thriller and black comedy that you won’t be able to forget for a long time.
This madcap satire delivers social class commentary and serves up thrilling moments enshrouded in slyness, erupting into explosive violence in its final segment. This way, Parasite can join Lanthimo’s Dogtooth and Miike’s Visitor Q as one of the most disturbing portraits of demented families.
The plot follows Ki-woo Kim (Woo-sik Choi), a broke young student turned English tutor, who starts working for the wealthy Park family. He had been recommended by his brave friend, Min (Seo-joon Park), who abandoned the position to go study abroad. Sooner than later, Ki-Woo takes advantages of the insecurities of Yeon-kyo Park (Yeo-jeong Jo), the amiable, if naive, lady of the house, and recommends an art tutor for her problematic younger son. He introduces this busy, highly qualified art teacher as his friend and colleague, but in truth, she is his sister Ki-Jung (So-dam Park). Propelled by an uncontrolled ambition, Ki-jung sets up the family’s driver to get her father, Ki-taek (Kang-ho Song), employed again and filling the place. In turn, the latter recommends his wife, Chung-sook (Hye-jin Jang), for the housekeeping job, after they frame Moon-gwang (Jeong-eun Lee), who was performing that task for years with distinction.
In no time, the injurious Kim family goes from folding pizza boxes to well-paid steady jobs. Yet, these charlatans face exposition as the former housekeeper threatens to unveil their secrets.
The jokes are as strong as the moments of suspense, and, if on one hand we see the Kim family drowned in whiskey and with their hands stained by blood, then, on the other, we have the Park family fighting for ramen. The final stage is a crazy intense rampage that grabs the audience with its turbulent atmosphere.
Brilliantly shot and photographed with Kyung-pyo Hong's distinctive palette, Parasite offers a lot of wicked pleasures, providing you with a delightfully insane cinematic experience. This is pretty strong filmmaking admittedly and one of the best films of the year in its genre. Most importantly, it testifies that Bong knows how to entertain a crowd of moviegoers better than anyone else.