It’s a contemporary story with a scenario straight out of a 19th Century English novel (like the struggling Bennet family striving to ‘do better’ in, Pride and Prejudice), with 1980s Hollywood comedies like, The Housesitter (1992), and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), but done through the contemporary Korean lens and aesthetic.
It’s put together in the style of classic theatrical comedy, false identities, and characters hiding under the bed, with the Kim family stepping into the role of the Bennet family — but here it’s all put to a darkly comic effect.
Class and social hierarchy is the dominant theme, with the Kim family living in a tiny basement while the wealthy Park family live in a beautiful modernist house with an immaculate garden. The theme of characters living below ground reappears later in the story.
While I enjoyed it — it’s an accessible Korean film for a Western audience — I preferred Burning (2018), another South Korean film, which has a similar class and social hierarchy theme. Parasite felt a little bit too much like a crowd pleaser for me, and it lacked the deeper resonance and poetry of Burning.