All unemployed, Ki-taek’s family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks for their livelihood until they get entangled in an unexpected incident.

Director: Bong Joon Ho
Writers: Jin Won Han (screenplay), Bong Joon Ho (screenplay) (as Bong Joon-ho)
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo

Subtitled in English


“Parasite,” a thrilling return to Korean filmmaking for Bong after two starry international efforts, “Snowpiercer” and “Okja.” He has always been a master of genre, as fans of his best films, the serial-killer chiller “Memories of Murder” and the monster movie “The Host,” will surely know. His latest begins, in deceptive fashion, as a darkly comic drama about a poor but extremely resourceful family of four, whose sly survival tactics may remind you of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters,” last year’s celebrated Palme d’Or winner.

But if so, this is “Shoplifters” on bath salts — very pricey Korean bath salts. When one member of the family gets a job as a tutor in a wealthy household, it sets in motion an ingenious chain of events that Bong tracks with steadily mounting tension and clockwork precision. As an escalating freak show of tension, surprise and class rage, “Parasite” would make a terrific double bill with Jordan Peele’s “Us,” which it matches and perhaps even surpasses in pact. Bong’s movie may be the angriest, most confrontational thing I’ve seen in the competition, the rare parable of haves and have-nots that connects viscerally as well as intellectually.