Fascinating, mysterious, funny and smart, Bong Joon Ho's PARASITE is an amazing film.
Beautifully layered with visual clues to its deeper meanings, it's thrilling to watch what might appear to be a simple story slowly reveal itself to be something much more.
Living in squalor and entirely unemployed, the Kim family is living meal to meal, crawling through corners of their home to steal enough wi-fi signal to entertain themselves and find their next scam.
When Ki-Woo Kim gets the unexpected opportunity to tutor a rich teenage girl in English, he finds himself adapting quickly to the lifestyle, using chameleon like talents to merge seamlessly into his role with the family.
The wealthy Park family is kind, a bit naive and completely unprepared for the very quiet, subversive and methodical home invasion that is about to take place.
If KiWoo can be a well educated English teacher, then why can't his sister Kim pretend to be a sophisticated art & psychology teacher for the family?
What happens after that initial set up is best left for you to discover.
Kang-ho Song is especially good as the father of the Kim family. His face betrays every emotion long before his words.
Does PARASITE refer to the poor family digging slowly into the lives of the rich? Does it refer to the wealthy family's almost complete reliance on their help for the most mundane functions of everyday life?
Loaded with shocks, twists and turns, its one of the best written films of 2019. It's damn funny when it's not moving you to the edge of your seat. Scenes move from comforting to creepy in moments.
Writer/Director Joon Ho has crafted a different cultural take on the same themes Jordan Peele tackled so effectively in last year's American film "Us". But while they share some DNA, they are very different stories. While Peele's film takes place in 1986 America, this film is rooted in 2019 South Korea. The role that technology and communication play throughout is a fascinating thread from the beginning scenes through the near perfect final scene.
I also felt the voyeurism of Brian De Palma's 80's thrillers and strong allusions to Hitchcock's darkly lit thrillers with bright mid day confrontations.
Horror film? Nope.
Preachy class warfare drama? Nope.
Something so all together challenging, entertaining and just plain different that it deserves every top film of the decade list it's earned? Yes.
Who are we at our core? Where can our lives lead? Joon Ho entertained me so thoroughly for every one of the film's 132 minutes that I didn't think of those questions during the story, but they were two that surfaced the moment the film ended.
PARASITE demands repeat viewing. Sign me up. An A+ modern classic that earns a spot barely outside my all-time Top 100.
(In Korean with subtitles)