Usually, I am a few decades late with my film reviews, but this time, I manage to recommend a movie that is still playing in cinemas: Parasite.
A cleverly constructed thriller, fast-paced, humorous, but also a social critique. Too much for one film, you may think, but Bong Joon-Ho pulls it off.
Sometimes, it’s quite obvious, with the rich family living on top of a hill, and the poor family living, or rather surviving, literally at the lowest level of Seoul. But it never becomes a caricature of either stratum. The poor family is clever and smart. The rich family is nice and friendly. Initially, viewers may assume that “parasite” refers to the poor family cheating their way into the life of the rich family. But then, why would it be parasitic to want someone else’s money, but not to want someone else’s time and labor? Aren’t both feeding off each other?
What I liked most about this film was that it didn’t make me develop obvious sympathies for one side. As the plot evolved and it became obvious that there would have to be a clash at some point, I was rooting for both sides.
And just as the tension became almost unbearable, a third family and with it a third social layer showed up. It’s complicated, but never confusing. Unless you are trying to think of a way out to reconcile the interests of all three families. Because that’s not possible, like in real life. The film is a metaphor for our market-driven society that calls itself meritocratic but is deeply exploitative. Parasite leaves so many thoughts lingering in your mind, to come back to much later, long after the girl with whom you watched it has left you – because she felt you weren’t quite up to her economic standards, ironically.
Just one warning: In the end, it becomes true class warfare, Tarantino style. I found the ending out of place. But for the first 90%, it’s more Hitchcock, suspense without violence.
- More about movies.