REVIEW: Parasite is funny and wickedly clever


Parasite - Credit: Archant

A film as relentlessly entertaining as this deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.

When a poor family from Seoul, manage to con their way into the lives of a more successful family across town, they seem to have secured their meal ticket. But when the deception is threatened with exposure, their easy life becomes a whole lot more complicated.

From Korean director Bong Joon Ho, the man behind 2013's cult classic Snowpiercer, comes this genre blending drama which surprised everyone by becoming the first foreign language film to win the academy award for Best Picture.

Based on a screenplay from Bong and his writing partner Jin Wan Han, the film is utterly original and impossible to pigeon hole.

The script (which also won the Oscar for original screenplay) cleverly blends elements of thriller and drama with surprisingly funny comedy, while incorporating a razor sharp thread of social satire.

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Among a strong ensemble cast, Song Kang-Ho stars as Kim family patriarch Ki-taek and delivers a brilliant stand out performance (one that was criminally overlooked by the Oscars.) The rest of the cast is made up of Choi Woo Sik and Park So Dam as the scheming Kim children and Lee Jung Eun as their mother. While Cho Yeo Jeong and Lee Sun Kyun take on the roles of their rich employers the Parks.

I'll keep plot details to a minimum, as to write too much about a film as unpredictable as this, would only serve to diminish its impact. The story focuses on the Kims, an impoverished family living in a squalid basement-level apartment. When their son Ki-Woo is offered the chance to work as an English tutor for an affluent family, the Kims hatch an ingenious scheme to get the rest of them into employment at the same residence. This sets the stage for a tense class war with surprises at every turn.

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Bong is already an accomplished filmmaker with a string of cult classics in his repertoire, yet this may well be his best work to date. Parasite is funny and wickedly clever, while the score from Jaeil Jung serves only to enhance the film's many different moods.

During his Oscar acceptance speech, the director encouraged movie goers to overcome the one inch barrier of subtitles, and the fact Parasite has been so successful will hopefully bring it to a much wider audience. A film as relentlessly entertaining as this, is great in any language and deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.

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