MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Meet the Kim family. A family of four, they live together in a cramped lower level apartment, depending upon odd jobs (including folding pizza boxes) to pay their rent while they scurry around to catch a free Wi-Fi signal from a nearby business.
Uptown, the Park family enjoy a life of wealth and luxury, including a chauffeur, a housekeeper and private tutors for their two children.
The families do not seem to have much in common, but fate smiles on the Kims when a friend of their son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-sik) asks him to seek employment as an English tutor for Da-hye (Ji-so Jung) , the Park’s teenage girl. The friend is going out of town and wants to make sure that someone he trusts gets the job, since he has fallen in love with his student and doesn’t want another guy making any moves. Fortunately, Ki-woo’s sister Ki-jung (Park So-dam) knows how to forge the documents that are necessary and Da-hye’s mother (Cho Yeo-jeong) is not about to check online.
Once Ki-woo is hired (calling himself “Kevin”), he sees an opportunity to talk up his sister as an art therapist for the Park’s young son (she will call herself “Jessica”). And, in short order, the Kims use deception and cunning to replace everyone on the Park’s staff. No more folding pizza boxes for them, although they still have to go home at night to their damp, dank home.
Parasite is a film that constantly engages and surprises the viewer in such a unique fashion that the best way to describe it is not much at all. It’s a movie that combines many genres (including an eclectic musical soundtrack) to tell a story about inequality while still presenting relatable characters. The film is visually stunning and brilliantly edited, filled with great performances.
The characters are all tragic figures, trapped in worlds that are unable to connect with one another, lacking the wisdom to know how lost they really are.
“O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.” (Psalm 43:3)
If you can handle some hard truths about the human condition, Parasite wants to preach to you. We need to listen.
Note: I am often saddened by the low number of American filmgoers willing to watch foreign films with subtitles. Of all of the international filmmakers at work today, Bong Joon-ho seems the director most influenced by Hollywood. His movies are incredibly entertaining. Parasite will not disappoint you. Also, take the time to view his 2017 film Okja (Netflix) as well as 2013’s Snowpiercer (Netflix and digital rental) – both reviewed here.
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Three halos: A biting social satire and commentary about the widening class divide.
Three pitchforks: Much subtitled swearing; extreme violence; binge drinking; consensual sexual activity.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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