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Bong Joon-ho's Parasite (2019): An Allegorical Roller Coaster Ride From Class Horror to Caper Crime

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Energetic, sly, smart Parasite takes viewers on allegorical rollercoaster ride through class horror, bitingly humorous caper crime, and touching family bonds.

Meet the Kim family. They live in the slums of Korea in a tiny basement apartment, dominated by a toilet that sits like a throne on the highest place of honor in the space. This quirky setting piece tells you everything you need to know about the Kim family and will play a very important role in what is to come.

The Kim clan, family of four, are survivors. They are smart, savvy, and resourceful. They also all seem to have the gift of gab and can charm others into giving them a break. How, on Earth, are these delightful people so dirt poor and ready to fold pizza boxes just to make a lousy buck? Hey, this is Korea, and there's little room for social climbing. Unless, you have the right friends. Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi) is asked by his friend to take over his job of tutoring the sweet, but somewhat dumb, Da-Hye, daughter of the affluent Park family. Ki-woo agrees because hey, he needs the money, and it seems a great opportunity.

He easily wins over the whole family with his antics, posing as the perfect tutor. After landing such a nice gig, he slowly but surely manipulates the family into hiring his parents and his sister for other roles -- art teacher, chauffeur, and housekeeper -- never giving away their family connection.

All seems to be going great, until one night during a giant storm, when this story, and this movie, makes a giant leap and becomes something totally different. This film keeps things unexpected and original. In a world of franchises, reboots, spin-offs, and sequels, Parasite feel fresh, surprising, and delightful. It blends genres seamlessly and manages to be funny, suspenseful, heartwarming, and shocking. I hope everyone will support Korean cinema, independent films, and diverse directors.

The film can also mean different things and can open up discussions about social class, xenophobia, and equity. It's truly a rollercoaster ride, though, and keeps the story at the center.

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