Yes, there will be spoilers. Click away if you haven’t watched it.
Seriously, click away!
This essay is a two-parter. Part one is about my analyses of the film; they are brief and surface-level because many people online have done great jobs with the dissections and I don’t have anything significant to contribute. Part two is about why I personally love the film.
First thing first, I am annoyed by how some people interpret the significance of Jjapaguri; they think the two instant noodles represent the two poor families while the sirloin represents the rich one.
While it does make sense, people seem to miss one fact: the rich characters are so rich, they easily put expensive Korean beef to their late-night instant noodles meal without a second thought! Don’t let one’s obsession with symbolism makes one misses the obvious.
Another obvious thing people miss is Min-Hyuk. They feel bad for him because Da-hye, whom he has a crush for, ends up falling for Ki-woo.
Why should we feel sorry for him? Yes, Min-hyuk chooses Ki-woo as his replacement because he wants to protect her from perverted college boys. But then, he also says he will date her once she has reached the age of consent.
To paraphrase the situation, Min-hyuk wants to fuck Da-hye once she turns eighteen and he assigns Ki-woo to protect her virginity. Yes, it sounds worse if I put it that way. But still, he is obviously not a saint. Oh, and don’t forget that the scamming was his idea.
As an Indonesian, I am taken aback by the depiction of the wealthy couple. Even though they are Korean characters written by two Korean screenwriters, they affirm the clownish caricatures of wealthy people that have been lingering in my mind for a long time. It actually increases the universality of the already-thematically-universal film.
I don’t know if others experience the same thing. But, I find atmosphere turns sinister once we are first introduced to the Parks’ household. I attribute it to Lee Jung-eun’s performance as the housekeeper; she did a great job portraying a seemingly-innocent person who harbours a great secret underneath.
Seriously, the first time I saw her, I was instantly suspicious. She gives the film a really nice slow burn; the plot twist and unexpected ending feel natural.
Somehow, a part of me also want attribute this to the house, even though I cannot put my finger into it. Yes, the house is indeed what I expect from cartoonish rich characters: expensive, spacious and yet too soulless to live in. But, it is not necessarily sinister.
Maybe the soullessness adds to the slow burn. Just maybe.
Dammit, I almost forgot about Song Kang-ho’s performance.
The day after the flood, his character Ki-taek starts to get visibly upset after realising how rich people like the Parks are leeching off the misery of the poor. One can tell that he is going to snap, without knowing how and when; it makes the atmosphere even more sinister.
If Song was a shit actor, this would not work at all.
Admittedly, I was worried.
Before I watched the film, I was already hyped out by the online excitement of filmgoers. I was even more hyped out by its victory at the Oscars, triggering those emotionally-fragile, xenophobic Anglo-centrist Americans. I feared that I would be disappointed. But, I watched it anyway….
…. AND HOLY FUCKING SHIT, WHAT A FUCKING MASTERPIECE!
Obviously, I did not act like one of those demented preachers giving Friday sermons when the credit rolled. I spilled my overwhelming excitement solely to my online friends.
You can tell how much I love the film.
Despite the massive hype, I am still deeply impressed by the film. I already knew that bad fate was awaiting the characters and yet, the finale still hits me hard. The film is so technically masterful, it is extremely dense with visual and verbal figures of speech, resulting in seemingly never-ending interpretations. Don’t forget the performances of the actors, whom I believe should had been nominated for the Oscars.
As a result, I get extremely excited. For me, when dealing with the cinema, ‘excitement’ is an unpredictable feeling and hard to run into; I cannot foresee which films that would enliven my soul.
If I show you an exhaustive list of my personal favourites, you would see a significant chunk of them being critically-acclaimed arthouse works with metaphysical themes. Surely, if I want to constantly feel the excitement, I need to simply watch films that fulfil those categories, right?
Being critically-acclaimed and arthouse does not guarantee that I will love them; I have watched award winning arthouse works that I either despise or don’t care for. Metaphysics is also such a broad field and not every metaphysical theme will intrigue me. In fact, a handful of my favourite are not critically-acclaimed, arthouse and laced with metaphysical elements.
Statistically, Parasite has a small chance of becoming a personal favourite of mine. Yet, here I am.
It shows how special this film is for me.
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