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Review: Parasite

[Minor SPOILERS below; you have been warned!]

Finally caught a screening of Parasite. Like many South Korean movies, this dark comedy is difficult to describe. In some respects, it reminded me of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters, as its plot revolves primarily around class conflict. Our protagonist is an impoverished young man that manages to con an affluent family into hiring him as an English tutor; using his wits and talent for psychological manipulation, he gradually convinces his new bosses to employ his sister, father, and mother (disguised as mere “acquaintances”) as, respectively, an “art therapist,” a chauffeur, and a housekeeper. While our nominal heroes celebrate this desperately needed windfall, it quickly becomes clear that their good fortune can’t possibly last. Fortunately, director Bong Joon-ho is a master of misdirection as well as suspense—even though his characters’ downfall is inevitable, the path that leads them to their tragic fate is genuinely unpredictable.

I won’t risk spoiling the narrative any further; Parasite’s various twists and surprises are best experienced firsthand.

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