Before seeing "Parasite," I was instructed to not seek out information about it. Listening to this advice made the movie the wonder it was. The lack of knowledge beforehand made the confusing ride even more exhilarating.
Although I had no preconceived expectations going into the film, this Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner still exceeded all of them. It is the first Korean-made film to receive the honor.
Likely to be an award-show favorite, the film has already been nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards and quickly gained buzz in the United States since its October release.
Director Joon-Ho Bong wonderfully blended movie genres to create this drama and thrills-filled heist film with heavy amounts of dark comedic relief.
At its face, it may feel convoluted at times. Behind all the color, it offers a social commentary on class hierarchies and the obliviousness of the wealthy to the problems faced by others living just down the street.
The film kicks off by introducing the unemployed Ki-Taek family who will do just about anything to make an extra buck. When the son, Ki-woo, gets a job tutoring with a local upper-class family — the Park family — he realizes the rest of his family could be benefiting from their good fortune as well.
As the film progresses, the Park family’s disconnect from society becomes more and more prominent.
The class difference between the two families first presents itself before the audience even meets the Parks. As Ki-woo first enters their home, the scenery goes from gray and industrial to a lush, green and manicured yard with shrubbery — hiding the drab city that lays just outside the green walls.
Much like parasites, the Ki-Taek family slowly takes all the in-home staff positions the Park family had to offer, lying and scheming along the way to make it a reality. Little do they know, their comeuppance is quickly approaching.
As the family works through their heinous acts, the audience can’t help but root for them to not get caught. The audience hangs at the edges of their seats as Mr. Kim, the family patriarch, narrowly escapes the Parks; cringe as Mrs. Park tells her husband she prefers it "clockwise;" ache as they lose everything they own; yet somehow, still laugh along the way.
"Parasite" takes the word "anti-hero" to a new level. You can feel it in every ounce of your body that what they are doing is wrong, yet it feels so right as they near success.
After the roller coaster ride of emotion that was "Parasite," the viewer longs for a sense of completion — a happy ending of sorts. And, for just a few moments, that feels like it just might happen. However, seconds before the film’s conclusion, Ho-Bong throws one last curveball, literally ripping out the hearts of the audience.
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The distraught viewer has no choice but to sit in the theater speechless as the credits roll, processing what unfolded before them. Because of the deep message, the constant surprise and the tastefully dark comedy, "Parasite" infects the viewer with a need for more.
Makayla Grijalva is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MakaylaEliboria