“Parasite” is highly deserving of its nomination for best picture for the 2020 Academy Awards and is the first Korean film to be nominated for this prestigious award. It dances the line between comedy and thriller and offers a fresh commentary on power and class in Korea, not dissimilar from class struggles in Western countries.
This film had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, both for the plot and the beautiful shots and score that blended effortlessly with the movement of the scene. The majority of the film takes place in a beautiful, modern home where the lines are clean and the landscaping is perfected. It’s a peaceful juxtaposition against the claustrophobic city streets the main characters actually reside on. Each design choice is intentional, and there isn’t a single prop that doesn’t add to the shot without ever overcrowding. Each setting offers more than what meets the eye.
The plot follows a family that is struggling financially and finding work by slowly infiltrating a wealthy family. The four members of the struggling family manage to deceive the wealthy one with only the youngest son having a hunch that they all know each other. The plot has several key pivots that dramatically change the tone and purpose of the characters, which is incredibly thrilling to watch. The end of the movie leaves you in a place you would have never foreseen at its start, which is partly why it is fascinating for all two hours and 12 minutes of it.
“Parasite” is a great introduction to foreign films if it’s not a genre you are already comfortable with. “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” director Bong Joon-Ho said during his acceptance speech for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes. Joon-Ho’s comment strikes home as many of us can feel intimidated by subtitles and find ourselves satisfied in the comfortability English films offer us. “Parasite” provides a gateway to the world of foreign film, happily appealing to a wide variety of viewers and giving us over two hours of twists and turns that keep us on the edge of our seat.