Parasite: A Review

This article contains spoilers for Parasite. Read at your own discretion!

I've been itching to watch a good movie recently, and I took to social media for recommendations. Despite having a decent handful of followers, I only had one person suggest something: Parasite. This movie has been talked about for a while now, even more so now that it has a few awards under its belt, inlcuding Best Picture at the Oscars, so I thought, hey, why not give it a go? I knew that I wouldn't find it online, so I rallied up a friend or two, and we went to a theatre to watch it.

It was a late-night showing, and I thought I was going to doze off during the movie. From the first two minutes, I was hooked. 

Each scene was fantastic, none of them running for too long or seeming out of place in the flow of the film. The small details reinforced the motifs and themes of inequality, of which I will talk more about in just a second.

First, let me give you a quick synopsis of the movie. The movie focuses on the members of the Kim family and their scheme to infiltrate the wealthy Park family's household. The Kims - Ki-taek (the father), Chung-sook (the mother), Ki-jung (the daughter, called "Jessica" by the Parks) and Ki-woo (the son, called "Kevin" by the Parks) - are struggling financially, living in a basement apartment, trying to find any job that pays. Ki-woo is recruited by his friend to take over as the English tutor for the Park's daughter for him while he studies abroad. From there, the Kim family takes over by recommending each other for various positions of employment within the Park household, hence the movie title, Parasite

As I mentioned before, the movie has a strong (and I mean strong) theme of inequality, specifically wealth disparity, among other topics. The movie portrays this theme well throughout, and there's no question about the theme. However, I felt that one scene, in particular, exemplified the theme perfectly.

Mr. and Mrs. Park are spending "quality time" together on the couch while they watch over their son, who is camping out in their yard in the rain after a failed camping trip for his birthday. Unbeknownst to them, Ki-taek, Ki-jung and Ki-woo are hiding underneath the coffee table inches away and can hear everything that is being said. Mr. Park mentions the smell of Ki-taek, linking the scent to that of people that ride on the subways (a.k.a. people on the lower end of the socio-economic scale). He goes on to change the subject, asking Mrs. Park to wear the panties he found in the back of his car (planted by Ki-Jung earlier in the movie to get the driver fired for having sex with a prostitute or drug user, as the Parks assumed). Mrs. Park seemed to like that, playfully asking him to buy her drugs as they get it on.

This was so significant to me because, one, they acknowledged that poverty had a scent, a bad one at that, reinforcing the negative connotation surrounding the impoverished. And then the role-playing. Sexual role-play is a way to pretend you're something you're not. The Parks know they are wealthy and don't find issue with how others, like the Kims, are living. To them, struggle is something that makes sex feel naughtier, dirtier and exciting. 

It was this scene and many others that held my attention throughout the entire movie. Parasite tackled class and economic inequality in a fantastic portrayal of a family scheming to make ends meet. One wonders the heights the Kim family would have reached if they weren't victims of circumstance. Regardless, Parasite is fully deserving of every award it has won.