Winner of the Cannes Palme d'Or and Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, and International Feature, director, co-producer, and co-writer Bong Joon Ho's classist farce, Parasite, focuses on the Kims, a family of poor but proud con artists. Presently scrabbling to get by on lowest-paid jobs in a bug-infested basement apartment in Seoul, South Korea, they dream of climbing up to a better life by tricking the rich using flattery, charm, and well-rehearsed scripts.

220parasite.boxAfter the son, Ki-woo, gets work as a home tutor based on Photoshop-forged university credentials and Google-searched knowledge, they settle on the wealthy Park family. With a foot in the door, each member of the Kim clan can then infiltrate the household one-by-one. Ki-woo recommends a talented art-therapist colleague (his sister), followed—after first sabotaging the reputations of innocent staff—by a departed friend's high-class chauffer (his father) and a supposedly excellent housekeeper (his mother). Parasite's characters are all fairly despicable—either conniving, unscrupulous manipulators or snobby, bourgeois dupes. But there's plenty of dark humor and commentary on the human condition and society here to keep you grossed-out and engrossed.


Image focus is always narrow in the walled home occupied by the Parks, but relevant objects are kept sharp. Crisp lines in the modernist architecture, bright lighting, and highly reflective surfaces such as polished marble floors lend an antiseptic quality to the near-empty, well-groomed house and garden. Exceptional detail can be seen throughout and there's good contrast, with rich blacks in the forbidding entrance to the cellars and bright whites in the fur of lap dogs. Colors are restrained and realistic, and skin tones look natural and display subtle gradations of hues. Only in scenes of nature—particularly during a nighttime flood in the lower depths of the city where the Kim family lives—do images reveal more complex compositions and greater dimensionality.


Surround channels are used aggressively to create convincing environments in a soundtrack that's filled with classical solo piano and powerful orchestral music. Effects such as a motorbike roaring by, or the voices of characters moving off-screen, are accurately placed and panned. Dialogue is full, and gentle atmospheric sounds like a breeze rustling through trees are conveyed with clarity. Deep bass adds heft to the rumble of thunder during a storm, and to a giant iron door opening up to reveal secret underground chambers in the Park family's house.


The disc's only extra is a Q&A with the director, but it's a substantive one that has Bong revealing some of his tricks and the ways that he conveys meaning through visual metaphors.

Studio: Universal, 2019
Aspect Ratio: 2:39:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 132 mins.
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Starring: Song Kang Ho, Lee Sun Kyun, Cho Yeo Jeong, Choi Woo Shik, Park So Dam, Lee Jung Eun and Chang Hyae Jin