Parcell: Parasite keeps viewers on their toes

Jordan Parcell

Parasite is a Korean film directed by Bong Joon-ho. It won four Oscars at the 92nd Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. In addition to the four Oscars, the film was the first Korean picture to win best forign language film at the Golden Globes. The film, which had a budget of around $11 million grossed over $200 million worldwide.  

Yet many people don’t understand why the movie is so popular. I decided to watch it for myself and find out. 

As you might expect from a Korean movie, Parasite isn’t in English. So unless you happen to understand Korean, use subtitles. This may seem like a lot of work just to watch a movie, but I find that you forget that you’re even using them after a while.

In the first half of this movie, we are introduced to two families: the financially unstable Kim family and the needlessly wealthy Park family. The son of the Kim family, Ki-woo, is given the opportunity to tutor the daughter of the Park family. He fakes a degree and quickly gains the trust of the naive Mrs. Park. Ki-woo and his family begin plotting to get the Park family to hire all four of them, by giving Mrs. Park recommendations based on a “chain of trust,” as she calls it.

It is during all of this that the double meaning of the title emerges; the Kim family is a parasite that survives by deceiving the Park family into giving them jobs, but in a sense the Park family is also a parasite, because they depend on others to do basic tasks such as housework and driving them everywhere.

Bong Joon-ho does an amazing job of keeping you on your toes in the second half of this movie. There’s a shift in the vibe of the movie at 01:02:56 when the doorbell rings; this is when things begin to get eerie.

The ending of this movie is in exactly the same place as the beginning, leaving the watcher somewhat unsatisfied but also invoking much thought.

One thing to keep in mind about this movie is that it is rated R for language, violence and some sexual content. This isn’t the kind of movie that is good for the entire family. For those of us who can watch a rated R movie, however, I would highly recommend that you add this to your watch list. 

It’s available on Hulu if you’re interested.