Review by Ryan
In this celebrated Korean film, a family of scammers insinuates itself into a well-to-do businessman’s household, unfeelingly eradicating any human impediments to their new standard of comfort along the way. Parasite is partly a meditation on class stratification, and writer-director Bong Joon Ho, in a Q&A included on the Blu-ray, observes that the film “features a lot of staircases. It’s about these characters who climb up the stairs and go down the stairs.” Bong’s labor sympathies are not a secret, but his salt-of-the-earth characters in Parasite are never facilely lionized – they are actually rather scummy – nor do his characterizations of privilege constitute vilifications. While the ways in which the gutter family dupes and exploits the businessman and his wife are obvious, Bong encourages viewers not to see the parasitism referenced in the title as being the trait of only one stratum or another. Never a mere social allegory, Parasite is memorable for its outrageous humor, absurd situations, and assortment of painfully believable personalities. Nonetheless it is also a sobering exploration of the explosive potentialities of what Michael Parenti has described as “the hidden injuries of class”.