Parasite may be both the most amusing and the most horrifying movie of the year. That is, if you can get past its inept attempt at making a political statement.
Written and directed by Bong Joon-ho, Parasite recently became the first foreign language film to win the Academy Award for best picture.
Bong’s investigation of class strife in contemporary Seoul spends its first 40 minutes setting up its premise and then springs its trap. Just as you are getting used to the sordid charm of the Kims, a slum-dwelling family of dedicated grifters, you are suddenly plunged into an entirely unexpected Grand Guignol.
The Kims live in the basement apartment of a Seoul slum. Despite their straitened circumstances, the parents and their two grown children barely strive to alter their situation. Even though their sole source of income is folding delivery boxes for a chain of pizzerias, they perform their task so shoddily their employer constantly threatens their dismissal. Beyond their official work, they are expert leeches. Their principal nourishment comes from the pizzas they steal from their employer. Without a customer account, they tap into the electric utility’s grid. For internet access, they piggyback off of their neighbors’ signals.
Still, they cannot offset other problems. When it rains, their apartment floods to a knee-deep river of flotsam and jetsam, and their...