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Wednesday, February 26, 2020


It’s thrilling that the Academy of Motion Pictures has showered the brilliant Korean film, “Parasite”, with a clutch of Oscars. This hugely inventive black comedy/satire/thriller about class and money richly deserves them. (Review: Patrick Compton 9/10)

Parasite is one of those films that appeals on a number of levels, perhaps some of them half-consciously.

Bong Joon-ho’s satire begins simply – and very funnily – as a kind of human heist movie in which members of a poor Korean family slowly infiltrate the gilded corridors of a very rich family.

The process begins innocently enough when a student leaving the country offers his friend, Ki-woo (Choi Woo-sik), his part-time job as a rich girl’s tutor. Ki-woo, who lives in a sordid underground urban hovel, so impresses the Park family – the dad is Dong-in and his airhead wife is Yeon-kwo –that he sets in train a process whereby his sister, mom and dad all get jobs with the family.

The Parks assume, of course, that they have employed a series of individuals – not a conniving family – and this ignorance feeds into the humour as well as the movie’s growing tension.

I don’t want to spoil your pleasure by revealing how this basic situation develops: suffice to say that the film is (partly) a play on the haves who live in the sunlit uplands and the have-nots who moulder underground.

The theme is complex: the rich Parks are not horrible people and the poor Kims are certainly no angels. The film’s title takes a bit of unpacking and different filmgoers may have different ideas about what it means.

What is undeniable, however, is that this film is funny, bloody and perceptive. It’s a movie about class and inequality and maybe the capitalist system, not to mention a score of nuances that stem from these concepts.

But you'll be relieved to know that it's not a movie for academic navel-gazers. It's for everyone. More than anything, it’s a treat and a treasure that almost certainly repays another viewing.

Parasite (in Korean with English subtitles) is showing at Gateway Mall. - Patrick Compton