By Laurie Coker
Admittedly, I prefer to watch films with no subtitles. I become extremely distracted by them and miss things happening on the screen, but the film Parasite holds interest so intensely, that, like seeing a train wreck, it is impossible to look away. Director/ co-writer Bong Joon Ho and writer Han Jin-won weave bizarre tale about a home invasion like no other. Theirs is a drama so absurd uncomfortable laughter comes without malice.
Parasite, as the name implies, follows two families in Korea – the Kim family and the Parks. The Kims are nearly homeless and live hovel of a place, quietly cheating the system and the Parks who are wealthy, fixated, and live in a lavish modern house. Happenstance brings the two together when Ki-woo Kim poses as an English tutor for the daughter of the Park family. While employed, he wrangles a job for his sister Ki-jeong a job as the Park youngest son’s art therapist. The Parks relies greatly on their housekeeper and driver, but gradually the Kim father and mother also infiltrate and get employed by the Parks. Somehow the Kims manage to convince the Parks that they are highly qualified and not related to one another and they take advantage of all the wealth and luxury the Parks have to offer.
Parasite’s outstanding cast is virtually unknown in the Western world, and their talent is undeniable. Their portrayals are vivid rising up above the subtitles and the language barrier. In fact, muting the volume would not have taken away from the performance or the storyline. So engaging is the tale, that looking away is not an option – it demonstrates excellence in direction, acting, production design, music, editing and on top of it all it offers breath-taking cinematic imagery.
Awards have and will continue to flow for Parasite. Mark my words. It is both amusing and thoughtful and it evokes emotions as varied and different as the lives of its two families. I am placing an A+ in my grade book. Bravo to cast and crew.