"Parasite" (review)

Parasite: black comedy, set-piece, moral, and geo-political statement

Bong Jong-Hoo's (South Korea) big black comedy thriller 'Parasite'Gisaengchung) is too long (132 min) for just plain satire, and it seems too much of a set piece, especially in the Park family home and in the catacombs we learn about beneath.

The film can be appreciated in two levels. The black comedy plot, about a proletariat, gig-employed family taking over as tutoring for a rich (e.g. parasitic) family the Parks, and to live a bit in 'a nice house' as my mother used to say, and finding another cache of subterranean people chased by loan sharks. Another is geo-political: a statement about not only Marxism, but the dangerous situation for everyone it has led to, with North Korea next door. The catacombs are, after all, a potential nuclear war shelter, and war might have been barely avoided early in 2018 right after the winter Olympics.

The Parks go away on a camping trip in the film's middle section, which frees the proles for their antics. When they come back and have an outdoor lawn and wedding party, carnage and rampage breaks out. (A housekeeper turns as a surprise "traitor".) It seems as those the proles will have revolution by force. At the end, there is some wintry introspection.

Jeong Jae-il provides a strings music score than emulates Vivaldi, and becomes more contemporary when the gratuitous gore comes. Before the closing credits, I thought I heard a small piano piece by Schumann.

Name: Parasite

Director, writer: Bong Jong-Hoo

Released: 2019

Format: 2.39:1

When and how viewed: Angelika Mosaic, late, small audience, 2019/10/22

Length: 132

Rating: R

Companies: CJ Entertainment, Neon Films

Link: official

Stars: ***__

Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 10 AM EDT