Parasite. Regarded as one of the most compelling films of 2019 and the winner of the highly coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Parasite has captivated audiences and movie critics around the world. Transcending genre boundaries by seamlessly blending social satire, dark comedy, and thriller all at once, Director Bong Joon Ho’s latest masterpiece has become the highest-grossing foreign-language Palme d’Or winner in the US, making $18 million at the domestic box office since its release.
This South Korean movie tells the story of two families, the Kims, who live on the outskirts of poverty, and the Parks, who are the culmination of wealth and opulence. When the Kim son scams the Park family by becoming a tutor for their daughter, both families become engulfed in a sticky web of lies and deceit, intertwining their lives in ways that question the ethical nature of their actions and lifestyles.
But the film’s synoptic shell does it no justice. At its roots, Parasite deals with the conflict that is social class and the repercussions that arise for those who try to escape the system. Its many twists and turns, all building up to its shocking finale, open the floodgates for deep reflection on society.
The symbolism of water in the movie is especially prevalent. As Bong recalled in an interview, “Rather than water being important itself, water flows from top to bottom … I’ve always seen water flow from the rich to the poor and never flows the other way. And so it really delivers that sad element of the story.”
Interestingly, there are no strict boundaries between the villains and the victims; everyone in the movie has elements of both. When the audience questions one character’s actions, they are reminded of the context from which they come from and their genuine motives. When another character witnesses the fallout from their mistakes, the consequences often feel exaggerated and undeserved. They’re all easy to empathize with, but everything is bittersweet. In short, they’re human.
Parasite is a must-see for all lovers of cinema. The beautiful cinematography paired with the vivid storytelling and right dialogue culminate into a captivating experience, reminding viewers of the importance of humanizing those around us.