This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
cam’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
"essentially, we all live in the same country, called capitalism."
hierarchy is a universal language. it's embedded in every structure. every family, every building, every workplace around us. to a certain extent, it transcends nationality.
parasite shows hierarchy in its most purest form, much of it communicated visually. cash-strapped and destitute. the kim family live in what's practically a basement, whilst the park's lord it up in their extravagant modern mansion. here, the visual geography is clear, whether it be the heights the kim clan walk to reach the mansion, or the contrasting interiors. the divide is obvious in every frame. but it's also present in the subtext. the relationship between owner and worker, rich and poor, the perverseness of this system is made evident. mr park's constant reminder of "don't cross the line", so impersonal and professional. the park family aren't bad people per say - they can afford to be nice, as remarked by mrs kim. they can afford to be artistic, social and charitable. that's the perk when you're rich.
but it's their apathy, their sheer lack of care that makes this hierarchy so inhumane. in the final act, after guen-se has finished his killing spree, it's mr park's own apathy that kills him. his cold command for mr kim to throw his keys. the covering of his nose to stop the smell of poverty, a scent inescapable, almost inherent for the kim family. they could have pulled it off. they could have gotten away with it. but it's too much, too humiliating, and mr kim kills him employer.
later, his son speaks of the aftermath. how mr kim remains in the basement, as quen-see did before him. the cyclical nature of this system, how it repeats itself over and over again. the son remarks on how he will get rich, leave behind his life of poverty and eventually buy the house for himself. we see a future version of him visit the mansion, his father emerging from the bunker, the two embracing. the final shot returns us back to the basement, matching the opening scene. the son sits alone. he's still here, and he's still poor. he may meet his father again, he may not. "so long," he says, the future unclear.
the final scene is quiet and reserved. it's a show of cyclicity, the fantasy the poor entertain to make it through the day. it's a dark joke and a damning reminder.