Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Parasite’ feeds off suspense, thrills

Yuzuki Okuda, A&E Editor

Parasite, the Palme d’Or winning South Korean film was finally released in the US on Nov. 8. Directed by the acclaimed Bong Joon-ho, Parasite takes on a dark comedic view on the discrimination of class and poverty. This movie, while having a mixture of comedy and thriller, is stunningly filmed to carve out the theme of class while taking the audience on an emotional rollercoaster.

The film begins when the oldest son of the poverty-ridden and unemployed Kim family, Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) gets offered a tutoring job for the wealthy Park family. He gets the job by forging a certificate of admission to a college, which begins their cunning plan of getting his entire family employed by the Park family. As the family gets entangled in a secret hidden within the Park home, the story takes an unexpected turn that causes everything to fall apart.  

The film presents an allegory of our current society. It takes on dark humor to reveal the complex reality of class and the large gap between the rich and the poor. Bong Joon-ho perfectly casts the characters to represent their class and place in society. In particular, the mother of the Park family successfully conveys the stereotype of a wealthy housewife, kind and not necessarily discriminatory, but completely oblivious to reality. This theme of class is also shown in the glamorous Park house. Every wall being designed to fit perfectly is contrasted with the small, scraped together semi-basement home of the Kim family. 

Throughout the film, the tension keeps building and pulls the audience in and doesn’t let go. Bong Joon-ho is incredibly successful in creating the illusion as if we are in the house with the family, which builds up anxiety and discomfort for the audience. The beauty of this film is that it forces the audience to be so stressed out and nervous, not just by the thriller aspect of the plot, but by just the mere conversations and details of the characters. Certain scenes make the audience feel as though they themselves are being the parasites, infiltrating the Park home. By the end of the film, when all the characters reach their breaking point and everything falls into chaos, we are left jarred and shaken, thinking about the film long after it is over.

Parasite lingers in your mind as the movie’s mixture between humor and thriller plays with the emotions of the audience and criticizes the issues of class.