You would think a director’s career would move from humble, small films to grander, big studio features. Director Joon-ho Bong seems to be moving in the reverse direction starting with his large-scale dystopian world in The Snowpiercer, to a medium-sized effects film, Okja, to his current tale located primarily in a single location and without the luxury of a single computer-generated effect in Parasite.
Parasite is the aptly titled tale of a lower-class family of con-artists, whose dream of fortune comes by attaching themselves into the lives of a wealthy family. A decades-long recession in South Korea has forced many families to scheme their way to pay for basic necessities like food and paying rent. The Kim’s are one such family looking for the easy way of making a lot of money.
“…family of con-artists, whose dream of fortune comes by attaching themselves into the lives of a wealthy family.”
An opportunity presents itself for the Kim’s as their son Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi) is allowed to tutor the daughter of the wealthy Park family. Faking his credentials as a legitimate tutor, the dim-witted mother Yeon-kyo (Yeo-jeong Jo) places her implicit trust in Ki-woo and hires him as the English tutor for their daughter Da-hye’s (Ji-so Jung). The Park’s also have a younger son, Da-song (Hyun-jun Jung), who has behavioral problems. Here Ki-woo tells Mrs. Park that he heard of this nanny, who would be perfect for caring for their son. That nanny is Ki-woo’s sister, Ki-jung (So-dam Park), who is hired under an alias name.
Opportunities about as Ki-jung gets the Park’s driver fired over sexual misconduct and hires the Kim patriarch Ki-taek (Kang-ho Song). Then the three conspire to get the Park’s longtime maid axed and replaced with matriarch Chung-sook (Hye-jin Jang). The Kim family is in place to start leeching off the Park family. Their plan goes into full effect when Dong-ik (Sun-kyun Lee), the father of the Park family, promises to take the family on a camping trip for youngest son Da-song’s birthday.