An unemployed family has consequences of fraud in riveting black comedy.

Bong Joon-ho is a South Korean filmmaker who’s best known for such foreign thrillers like “The Host,” a monster import from 2007, and “Snowpiercer,” a post-apocalyptic thriller with Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton. Now, in 2019, he has made “Parasite,” a comical, dangerous, and original masterpiece that surprises you every step of the way.

Matter of fact, I’ve never seen anything like it, it’s so good!

We meet a family, led by Kim Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) and Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin), living in a shabby joint, where their only source of income comes from folding pizza boxes. The son Ki-Woo (Choi Woo-shik) has a friend named Min (Park Seo-joon), who allows him to take over his job as an English tutor for a rich girl named Da-hye (Jung Ziso), by setting up a fake college resume. A strong attraction grows between the “teacher” and his pupil.

Her mother Mrs. Park (Cho Yeo-jeong) also has a little boy (Jung Hyun-joon), who is going through a Native-American phase and has trouble with his attention spans. So, Ki-Woo turns to his sister Ki-jeong (Park So-dam) to play the role of an art professional. And this boy also suffers from trauma, beginning when he saw a ghost in the house.

That’s just the beginning, because the Kim family conduct a scheme for the Parks residents to employ them all. They just have to get the driver and housekeeper canned.

But don’t get too comfortable. There are consequences provided towards this family of charlatans. I’m not calling them that as an insult, because they aren’t bad people. They’re just trying to survive in their harsh environment, especially when their abode gets flooded with sewer water during a storm. And even the final act sticks to you like glue.

Kudos to the performances from Choi Woo-shik, Song Kang-ho, Jang Hye-jin, Park So-dam, Cho Yeo-jeong, Lee Sun-kyun (as Mr. Park), and Lee Jung-eun (as the former housekeeper) for portraying such fascinating characters with ambitions of their own. “Parasite” allows them to take their chances, and delve into their strengths and weaknesses.

I really admired the writing and directing done by Bong Joon-ho, because of the complications to this brilliant plan, which fails to breeze along. It’s a blessing it doesn’t slide along, because then it wouldn’t be a gripping as it already is. And even the comedy emerges somewhere in this thriller. Maybe, since the family takes on different roles, they should wash with different brands of soap.

I’m asking you readers and avid movie-goers nicely; two favors to be exact.

1. Go see this movie the minute it comes to your local art house theater.

2. Don’t ever remake this movie, because the American version would probably be a real downer compared to this tour-de-force black comedy.


Categories: comedy, Drama, Foreign, Thriller

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