‘Parasite’ Review: The South Korean Filmmaker Bong Joon Ho Delivers His Masterpiece

The South Korean filmmaker outdoes himself with this cutting, caustic tale of class warfare between the haves and the have-nots.

No spoilers, except to say that Bong Joon Ho — the first Korean filmmaker to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes — lowers the boom in ways not dissimilar to his shock tactics in 2006’s The Host. But this time human greed is the monster, eating away at the very concept of right and wrong. Who are the parasites here: the Kims who co-opt a family for their own financial gain? Or the Parks who exploit the Kims as servants paid to do their will? The movie dissects the universal gap between the haves and the have-nots with shocking wit, stinging topicality and gut-wrenching violence. It’s explosive filmmaking on every level.

Movie Summary:

Bong Joon Ho brings his work home to Korea in this pitch-black modern fairytale. 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.

Movie Info

Rating: R (for language, some violence and sexual content)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By: Bong Joon Ho
Written By: Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin-won
In Theaters: Oct 11, 2019 Limited
Runtime: 132 minutes
Studio: NEON

What are the Critics saying about ‘Parasite’?

Bill Goodykoontz (Arizona Republic)

It’s a nearly perfect film, from Bong’s masterful use of framing and visual language and control of a wildly shifting tone to the performances (all terrific) to the commentary on class division.

Christy Lemire (FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles))

This is the best movie of the year… A tonal marvel.

Cary Darling (Houston Chronicle)

“Parasite” may be the work that makes (Bong Joon-ho) more of a household name. Many of the best elements from his previous films are on display here, and if there’s one film that should serve as an introduction to his style, it’s this one.

Moira MacDonald (Seattle Times)

You’ll watch knowing you’re in the hands of a master filmmaker…

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