If you must make a home invasion movie do it as a comedy and not as a horror film, right? Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite Movie arrives already festooned with awards and rightly so. In this gem a family of low-life con-artists manage to take over the home and lives of a softer and much richer family that in some ways mirror them.
It’s like “Us” but without the supernatural element. Of course, a scheme like theirs can’t succeed without something going very wrong which, of course, it does turning “Parasite” beautifully and brilliantly into the blackest of comedy-thrillers that does finally manage to erupt into just the kind of horror flick we expected from the start.
Parasite Movie takes too much time in developing the central premise and various sub-plots, and more descriptive prose could be offered here about what actually happens. But that is not the point of the film. Director Joon-ho Bong paints an intricate portrait of the normalisation of poverty and class privilege, with both sets of family never questioning their place in South Korea’s social order. This acceptance and its destructiveness of the human spirit makes change impossible and condemns Korean society to moral bankruptcy.
With pitch-perfect performances from the entire cast and the smartest script of the year, not to mention the kind of home any family would be happy to invade, Parasite Movie is an instant classic. I can already see the American remake but it will never top this. It may not be quite as profound as it would like to be but for sheer cleverness it’s up there with the very best.
For many, the critical pendulum swings towards the ‘masterpiece’ label. But it is perhaps closer to reality to describe Parasite Movie as an original, engaging, and disturbing tale of endemic class tension, oppression, and helplessness. Although tenuous, the message has universal relevance.
Parasite Movie is a flim where each element has the precise intended effect. Bong can shift from hilarity to tension in an instant, and showcase surface level plot elements and deeper class themes in one clever shot. If you haven’t seen Parasite yet, I implore you to stop reading this and anything else about the movie and just go watch it.