Video: Parasite (Fantastic Fest 2019)

Parasite is directed by Bong Joon-ho and I had the amazing opportunity to see it at the closing night of Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. Parasite has a unique creative story, characters that feel real, and an underlying message about high and low class families that is conveyed thrillingly. This is a South Korean film but please go see this movie when you can. It won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Films Festival and it is such a rewarding experience.

The Kim family is poor. A father, mother, and their son and daughter all live in the basement of a dilapidated apartment struggling to survive. Choi Woo-shik portrays high school son Ki-Woo, who’s friend one day tells him that he is moving to study abroad and asks Ki-Woo if he’d like to take over as an English tutor for the rich Park family’s daughter. Ki-Woo is nervous because he is not qualified to tutor but luckily his sister Ki-jung, played by Park So-dam, knows how to use Photoshop and drafts her brother a fake resume. The story revolves around the luxurious family not only inviting Ki-Woo into their home, but eventually the rest of the Kim family. How all the family gets involved and what unfolds after is truly a masterpiece of cinema.

Hopefully I’ve said enough about the plot to pique your interest, but there is so much more that this movie has underneath the general plot synopsis that you might read online. The screenplay written by director Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won is clever and engaging. Most of the comedy is in the first 2 acts and pokes fun at how easy it is for the poor Kim family to get involved with the rich Park family. I don’t want to spoil what exactly they do but they perform some incredulous acts and it was quite amusing to see the creativity behind all of their actions.

However, just when you think you’ve figured out the type of film this is going to be, the movie dumps a crazy unexpected bombshell that caused me to audibly gasp right in the middle of it. Parasite quickly becomes a dark thriller that you can’t help but be in wonder of how it will all end. At this particular point in the movie, you are already invested in all the characters from both of these families. Seeing what they all decide to do extremely thrilling.

Beyond the plot being entertaining and communicated wonderfully well, there is a message about social classes. Director Bong Joon-ho talked about the title, “Parasite” and how in this film it applied to both families; despite the poor family trying to use the rich family’s money- the rich family who can’t do simple things like wash the dishes use money in exchange for extensive labor.

Parasite is winning Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. It is likely going to be my favorite movie of 2019. It’s so brilliant and I love it the more that I think about it.

Final Verdict:Best Movie of 2019; Parasite has a unique creative story, characters that feel real, and an underlying message about high and low classes, conveyed thrillingly.