This Movie Gives "Act Like You Own the Place" a Whole New Meaning
Streaming on Prime | 2019 | R | 2h 12min
Genre: This genre-bending film can't be pigeonholed: part black-comedy, part horror, part art-house cinema. Why We Watched: I watched Parasite (기생충) because everyone else was watching it, and I'm a joiner! But also because I'd seen and loved two of director Bong Joon-ho's (봉준호) earlier movies The Host (괴물)—a monster movie set in broad daylight—and Snowpiercer (see below).
You Might Also Like: You could treat yourself to any number of Bong's other films, but why don't you start with Snowpiercer (on Netflix)? The English-language movie is a full-blown sci-fi thriller that should have been a blockbuster, but He Who Must Not Be Named (Harvey, cough, Weinstein, cough) refused to adequately market it because Bong wouldn't make the edits he suggested. The movie's a wild ride starring Chris Evans that you really shouldn't miss.
"Once you overcome the one-inch tall barriers of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films." Through a translator, international director Bong Joon-ho addressed the Golden Globes attendees with his usual blend of humor and social commentary.
Adding to its already numerous awards, last Sunday Parasitetook home the Academy Award for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, and Best Picture. It's the first non-English film to win the top prize, and the first South Korean movie to win an Oscar. And four awards in one night for Bong tied Walt Disney's 67-year-old record.
I want to tell you nothing about this movie—nothing at all!—but I also want you to go watch it, and then go watch it again. The most wonderful part about the film's marketing, which included a riveting trailer and stunning poster, is that it reveals enough to make you interested, but leaves out all major plot twists. Without any real expectation of what would happen or when, the movie flew by, feeling much more like a 90-minute edge-of-your-seat thriller than a 2-hour-plus drama.
Here's the premise: Stuck in their basement apartment, the Kim family—father, mother, teenage son, and 20-ish daughter—wallow at how low they've fallen. But with hard work and a healthy amount of con-artistry, they wile their way into the wealthy Park family's household staff. It begins when son Ki-woo's friend Min-hyuk shows up and suggests he take over his job as an English tutor to the wealthy. So Ki-woo—who joined the army rather than go to college—poses as a college student "Kevin." The subterfuge is easy: The privileged Parks can't imagine a world in which someone would need to lie to get a job.
The Parks are so gullible, in fact, that "Kevin" is soon joined by "Jessica," his sister posing as an art therapist for the Park's son. The two quickly get the Park's chauffer fired so that he can be replaced by their dad, played by the film's biggest star Song Kang-ho. (This is his fourth movie with Joon-ho.) Then all that's left is to persuade the Parks to fire their long term housekeeper so that their mother can fill the coveted position.
But every action has a consequence...
I'll say no more about the plot!
"That's a metaphor!" the characters say several times, and it's true. Every shot, line, and gesture seems rapt with meaning. The film will leave you reeling for days as you turn over the sequence of events. "Dazzling," "Brilliant," "Superb," "Provocative," "Incredible," "Stunning," "Bong at His Best"—the euphoric reviews for this movie are unending. Enjoy the ride. It's unlike anything I've ever seen.