Usually when a film is hyped as being the ‘best film of 2019’ by critics and filmmaker fans alike, I’m poised to believe that the hype may not necessarily be warranted. In fact, skepticism almost prevails my desire. However, in the case of Parasite, the hype is real and well deserved.
People of color (especially Asians and Latinos) have often times been portrayed in very stereotypical roles on the small and silver screens and much to the chagrin of their communities. Why? To be blunt, most of the stories are told from a point of view that doesn’t originate from someone in that world or socio-economic background. Now, filmmakers like Bong Joon Ho are breaking that cycle.
Poverty is real. The pressure for many families to survive in a society where major technology is required to navigate through life on a daily basis. Technology, that is often a financial hardship on the most hard-working of citizens. Meet Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-sik) whose family is barely surviving in a basement studio apartment where their view is not a yard, mountains or tree-lined streets, but one where drunken strangers urinate without any regard to their surroundings. In order to simply obtain cash for food, they fold pizza boxes and steal wi-fi from a neighborhood cafe through an already tight corner of what resembles a bathroom. Kim literally would do anything for some extra cash any opportunity for his family to get a break on the struggle.
When his friend suggests that Kim take over tutoring the daughter of a wealthy family, he changes his name to Kevin and the con job begins. Kevin and his entire family end up with jobs in the household and things go off without a hitch until they don’t.
Parasite is a perfect example of what happens when one tries to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ by any means necessary. One of the most poignant scenes is one where Sun-kyun lee (Park Dong-ik) finally loses it over comments being made about his smell – a subway smell – the smell of poverty. Things like making Kim Chung-sook (Hye-jin Jang) a total wealthy, clueless, space cadet or Moon-gwang (Jeong-eun Lee) being crazy like a fox all propel the plot forward in the most unexpected ways, make this film intensely compelling, yet thought provoking well after the credits have rolled.
Bong Joon Ho has crafted the perfect film illustrating class crass disguised within a social commentary of greed, money and a family just trying to survive while losing everything and nothing all at the same time. Produced by Neon, Parasite is a thrilling ride of intrigue, reality and societal norms that will rock your world when it hits on October 11th.