Parasite (2019) reviews and overview

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It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that the Oscars, the annual Hollywood schmaltz and back-slapping parade, has just been held and, in a first for a Korean film, Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite has just won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Film. Without commenting on the merits of the Oscars themselves, it’s pleasing to see a movie we have covered on this site even getting nominated! Of course, xenophobe Donald Trump complained about the award simply because the film is South Korean.

Here’s our previous coverage (which frankly, we kept shorter than we would have liked for such a wonderful film but mega-coverage online everywhere meant we didn’t feel we needed to go overboard here):

‘Act like you own the place’

Parasite is a 2019 South Korean satirical thriller feature film about an unemployed family that takes a peculiar interest in a wealthy family with unexpected violent consequences.

Directed by Joon-ho Bong [as Bong Joon Ho] (Okja; Snowpiercer) from a screenplay co-written with Jin Won Han, Gisaengchung (original title) stars Kang-ho Song (Thirst), Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo and Woo-sik Choi.


Meet the Park family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity.

Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist, to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household.

When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks…

NEON released Parasite theatrically in the USA on October 11, 2019.

Reviews [click links to read more]:

” …another masterwork by Bong Joon Ho, who’s deft storytelling smoothly shifts tones between stirring ‘social commentary’ family drama, tension- building thriller, and oddball comedy with pitch-black humor, all resulting in a genre-busting triumph of a film, further enhanced by the exceptional work by its talented cast.” CineMarvellous!

The script is a watertight masterpiece of suspense and humour, trading the two impulses off against each other in a rollercoaster of a con. Bong’s formal brilliance is simply breathtaking, with one centrepiece montage prompting spontaneous applause in its thrilling combination of silky camerawork, frame-perfect editing and electrifying score.” One Room with a View

“Bit by bit, Bong succeeds in turning the tables on this plot with a conspicuous sense of righteousness, to reveal his whole crew of merry grifters as little people fighting over crumbs. A slapstick rampage turns into an imaginatively choreographed violent melee on the mansion lawn in the course of child’s extravagant birthday pageant.”

” …holy cow – it is worth the hype. It is bloody astonishing […] turns into a horrific thriller where life and death are at the fore. A particular party has everything come to a head with a few deaths, missing people, bashed-in skulls and even though it is horrendous to watch there is still some humour flickering in the background of the absurdity taking place.” Salty Popcorn

“Duped into playing the game of guessing which of the two families are the dirtiest rotten scoundrels, we only later realise that it’s capitalism that’s the true parasite. What’s quite unexpected, beyond the deliciously twisting finale, is the tender musing on familial love that emerges and the sorrowful all-too-late realisation that you can’t buy home.” Sight & Sound

Main cast and characters:

Kang-ho Song … Kim Ki-taek
Sun-kyun Lee … Park Dong-ik
Yeo-jeong Jo … Park Yeon-kyo
Woo-sik Choi … Kim Ki-woo
Hye-jin Jang … Kim Chung-sook (as Hyae Jin Chang)
So-dam Park … Kim Ki-jung

Technical details:

132 minutes
Audio: Dolby Atmos
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1


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