CultureReviews

My Two Cents: Exhaustingly-thrilling, a look into Parasite

Graphic by Sarah Schmid

There is a reason “Parasite” has won a plethora of awards: the film is the year 2019’s best.

From winning the Academy Awards for best picture, best director, best screenplay and best film not in the English language to a Golden Globe for best foreign-language film, it is no secret that this movie is loved by many. But what draws them in?

The portrayal of a class system that balances the extravagant and ornate lifestyle of the rich to the skill set of the poor is ever-present in Bong Joon-ho’s film, “Parasite.” With the current imbalance between the lower class and the upper class in America, the film plays on a motif that is not only in movies but in real life as well.

The Kims, a family of brilliant con-artists, live in a small house below ground, steal wifi from a local coffee shop and have drunk men peeing outside their window.

From the family’s first on-screen moment, their economic standing is immediately clear to the audience.

The Kims are a smart-witted family that works to find creative solutions to earn money. The first example of this starts with persuading the pizza delivery woman to offer them a job when she was set on cutting their pay at the beginning of their conversation. Their ending scheme has them infiltrating a high-class family, one family member at a time. 

And that is exactly what they did.

A friend who is leaving to study abroad visits the Kims’ son, Ki-woo, bringing the family two parting gifts — a rock and a job opportunity.

Ki-woo would be tutoring a daughter of a rich family in English studies. After only his second day on the job, he finds a way to get his sister, Park So-dam, or as the high-class Parks know her, Jessica, a job as the high-energy son’s art therapist.

Ki-woo, or Kevin as the Park’s know him, and his sister do not have a formal collegiate education but they fooled the Park’s into believing it. I know I could have been fooled by the way Ki-woo eases his way through lying about going to a college in America and Park So-dam masterly crafts fake documentation for the two. 

What seems to be a humorous and engaging movie takes a turn that no one was expecting. The score lent to all of the emotions felt from start to finish. Not only did the score aid the plot, but it also drew out every scene no matter how short the shots were. 

The cinematic parallels throughout the film showed in the smallest details from the Park’s disapproval of the smell of the subway, a transportation method for lower-class citizens. Might I add, Mr. Park made this comment while sitting in his own private car as a driver took him to his destination.

Other differences showcased themselves in less obvious ways, such as the difference in the houses the two families lived in. The Kims’ shoebox-sized underground home compared to the elegant clean-cut lawn and modern but cold home the Parks lived in.

A sudden twist in which the film turns towards a suspenseful and at some points, the gore-filled movie had emotions high with symphonies paralleling the characters’ decisions.

The rollercoaster of emotions one feels in entering this movie is heightened when they know nothing of the plot, as I did not. To say I was captivated from start to finish would somehow be an understatement to the ‘black-humor thriller’ the synopsis categorizes it as. 

Bong Joon-ho has created an all-encompassing movie of cynical laughter, fear and tension in this award-winning masterpiece.

Graphic by Sarah Schmid | The Arbiter

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