This one took a long time getting here, but it was well worth the wait. I absolutely loved this. It deserves all the chatter it is getting.
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Screenwriter: Bong Joon Ho
Starring: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Runtime: 132 Minutes
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by: Pearl
I cannot express to you how much I needed this film to be good when I was going into it. Will all the buzz about it amongst critics and at award ceremonies I was going to be seriously let down if the film wasn’t everything that everyone said it was. I went in completely blind, having only read a very brief synopsis to try and avoid spoilers, and was pleased to say that it was exactly as good as everyone is saying it is.
The Kim family live in a grotty basement apartment in South Korea. Through a friend their son gets job tutoring the daughter of the wealthy Park family. Slowly he manages to get all of his family jobs in the house, until they are living a completely crazy double life. One night while the Park Family are away on a camping trip, a series of events are put in place that will change both families lives forever.
It is impossibly difficult to write a synopsis for his film without spoiling it. Now I understand why all the online synopses were so short. In short, this film was only a few steps short of being perfect for me. It was just crazy enough to keep the mood light most of the time, and just dark enough in places to stop it coming off as corny or insincere. I didn’t expect it to be as funny as I did, and whether that is intentional writing or a case of something being lost in translation, the humour works brilliantly here.
What is great here is that, despite basically all the characters being horrible people, or at best very morally grey, you still root for the Kim family. They are suffering from bad circumstances and are trying to make most of a golden opportunity, they maybe just take it a little too far and then can’t get themselves out of it. The performances by the actors are all superb, with not one of them letting the side down, regardless of how minor their role may be.
There is a social/economic message in this film for sure. The ignorance of the rich to the problems of the less well off. The scene where they were getting ready for the party, and the contrasting situations between the Kim’s, having to rescue clothes from a crisis centre, after their entire neighbourhood is flooded during a Storm. To the Parks, picking for their racks of designer clothes and saying how the rain was a blessing, because it meant they had a nice day for their party. It is very subtlety done, but the message is there, and the director delivered it in a very impactful way.
I did think the ending was a little bit farfetched, the only thing that stopped this being a Five Star film for me. There were a million other ways it could have ended, and I don’t know if I am entirely satisfied with what we got. But it certainly was dramatic. The tension was simmering for about the last half an hour of the film, but when it exploded, oh it was a joy to watch.
So is ‘Parasite’ worth all the hype? Absolutely! Even if you normally give foreign language films a miss, I would say this one is a must watch!
Parasite Releases in the UK on 7th February.