Parasite ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

70/100

Second viewing, up from 63. The finale's not as misguided as I'd thought, even if I still firmly believe that Bong undercuts his primary, razor-sharp theme by having Dad stab Mr. Park. To be sure, that slow burn is quite strong—there's something singularly humiliating about overhearing others sneer at your eau de poverty, and it's entirely plausible that seeing Mr. Park wrinkle his nose in disgust at that moment would make Ki-taek snap. Were Parasite's class-war conflict more conventional—simply rich vs. poor—I'd have no qualms. But the genius of the film's left-field twist is the way that it pits one underprivileged family against another, echoing the pointless jockeying for crumbs (as opposed to, say, seizing power from the entitled minority) that permeates the entire capitalist world. Parasite draws the most blood if the Park family emerges entirely unscathed; Bong's actual ending (including the whole Morse code thing, which is overly contrived for my taste) muddles the implicit message (per Sinéad O'Connor): "Fight the real enemy." There's plenty of poor-on-poor violence at that party, though, and a second viewing really brought home the film's gift for staying vertical. Even when the Parks get low to the ground, fooling around while reclining on their couch, the Kim family can be found lower still.