Nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best International Feature Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design and Best Editing, Parasite, the exemplary film from writer-director Bong Joon-ho is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Pictures.
Perfectly balancing a tale of comedy and drama, we are introduced to two families, and from there see the differences in class, wealth and knowledge. A powerful and entertaining watch, if it’s possible to go in blind with just a scant amount of knowledge, than that is the way to see this one.
That’s what I did, simply knowing that a street-wise but poverty trapped family, the Kims, find a way into the wealthy household of the Park family, by providing domestic services to them. It all goes sideways when an incident occurs.
That was the extent of my knowledge, and consequently I enjoyed the film from the off. The performances from the actors portraying the Kim family (led by Kang-ho Song and featuring fantastic turns by Woo-sik Choi, So-dam Park and Hye-jin Jang) are wonderfully on point, walking a line of irony with all the skill of a brilliant tightrope walker. One by one, they insinuate themselves into the lives of the Parks, who, though successful are naïve and seemingly unaware of the world beyond their well-manicured lawn.
And that drives a wonderful point of the film home, the way those in wealth have closed themselves off, happy in their ignorance and only worry about themselves. There are a couple of scenes that resonated this theme for me; one features a rainstorm – for the Parks it ruins a birthday party, for the Kim’s it completely floods their home, forcing a relocation. And during the film’s climax, Mr. Park (Sun-kyun Lee) is more offended by a smell than the horrors splayed out before him, because it’s the only thing that he believes affects him personally.
Couple that with the fact that there is so much going on in this gorgeous sprawling house (which serves in contrast to the housing and cramped lives of the less financially affluent) that the Parks are unaware of, that it seems their ignorance plays to every corner of their life, and others problems are made to be belittled or used for their own enjoyment.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot in terms of extras on the disc. There is an all too brief interview with Bong Joon-ho and that’s about it. That, however, should not dissuade you from picking up a copy today. This is a fantastic film, deserving of its nominations, and honestly, as much as I loved 1917, and enjoyed Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, I would love to see this film take the Best Picture Oscar.
This is a film that is worthy of its accolades, and whether it goes back to Korea with that little gold statue or not, this is definitely a film that is not to be missed, and belongs in each and every cinephile’s collection.
Parasite is available now from Universal Pictures.