Verdict: This stunning masterpiece is worth the hype.
Parasite, a satirical take on the socio-economic class wars based in South Korea, has a universal appeal and holds water even when we change the countries and people. After getting six nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards, winning the Best Foreign Language Film award at the 77th Golden Globe, and having many more nominations and wins under its belt, Parasite has finally released in India.
What’s Parasite About:
The Kims manage to make ends meet by folding pizza boxes for a local pizza place and stay in a semi-basement. The parents Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) and Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-jin) are currently jobless while the kids Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) and Ki-jeong (Park So-dam) are hopeful ambitious young adults who want to turn their life around. The Kims are close even when they scramble across the corners of their house for free Wi-Fi signals and have to deal with a drunk man urinating just outside their window. Ki-woo’s wealthy friend Min offers him an opportunity to replace him as a tutor to a “rich student” Da-hye Park, the teenaged daughter of an upper-class couple. As Ki-woo is finishing off his first class with the young girl, Ki-woo spots an opportunity to pitch his sister Ki-jeong aka Jessica as Da-hye’s kid brother’s art teacher. Soon enough, the whole family is employed by the Parks. However, they maintain an act that they only know each other strictly professionally. Just as things seem comfortable, a major shift in the narrative happens when the Parks make an unexpectedly quick return from a camping trip.
Parasite swiftly establishes the sharp socio-economic abyss between the Kims and the Parks and maintains it till the end. The film also cleverly shows us the intrafamilial dynamics without ever spelling it out. The Parks with their sophisticated ways and a gorgeous house are still distant from one another while the Kims stick together not just for emotional bonds but also to get by. The script is tight with no white spaces and every frame seems calculated and structured with the intent to highlight the nuances of class wars; like the “subway smell” Ki-taek apparently gives off, or how the tutors, drivers, and housekeepers cannot “cross the line” but the Parks summon the Kims whenever they please. The film neither glorifies wealth nor romanticizes poverty but rather lets us figure out the disturbing dynamics between the haves, the have-nots, and the lesser visible have-nothings. Despite the grave subject matter, the film is a satire that’s funny in places. The actors are effortless and the story’s charm lies in its simplicity and intricately-designed thematic insignia placed strategically throughout the movie. Parasite is a layered masterpiece that is impressive even at its face value.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The cons pulled by the family to secure the jobs in the Park household seem a little too convenient but nothing that a little suspension of disbelief won’t fix.
Why You Should Watch:
Parasite is an Oscar-nominated film that will screen for a limited time and this is a film no cinephile should miss. It’s funny, poignant, and downright brilliant. What more? One simply doesn’t miss out on a movie that has won four Academy Award in 2020 – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay.