Mini Movie Review: Parasite is a fresh comedic thriller with a dark edge
An early funny moment in Parasite which encapsulates Ki-taek and his family is when the pest control exterminator comes to their poor neighborhood, he leaves the windows open in their half-basement apartment for the “free fumigation”. Not knowing much about the story beforehand, I mistakenly thought that Parasite would be a horror film like Director Boon Joon Ho’s previous hit The Host. Instead, Parasite is harder to categorize. I would say it’s a comedy thriller with a dark edge to it. The black comedy is used to put the spotlight on social issues in a way which viewers can easily see the faults of the system and people. Ki-taek’s family are opportunistic and cunning but not unsympathetic as they worm their way into the Park family’s lavish home.
2018’s Burning, another excellent Korean film, also explored the class divide between the haves and the haves not. While Burning takes its time to build tension and leaves the viewer to parse out the meaning, Parasite appeals to a wider audience by directly putting Ki-taek’s family into highly entertaining and farcical scenarios. Parasite’s populist sentiment is balanced with the idea that being an impoverished person does not inherently make one morally superior.
Those who live their whole lives as elites can usually spot new money and people pretending to be affluent from a mile away. The methods in which Ki-taek’s family by-passes the elite’s filter is a biting commentary in itself. When a society can no longer sell the hope of economic mobility for those who want to work hard and do well for themselves, it can become a sad pipe-dream. Though not a perfect film, Parasite’s fresh story is mischievously fun before turning into something real and pointed.