JustinH82’s review published on Letterboxd:
There's a lot of similar themes between Parasite and Snowpiercer, two movies in which class warfare plays out in both metaphorical and literal ways. But the common theme of greed, desire to rise in class, etc being the broken system that only destroys our lives rather than saves them is better played out in Parasite.
In Snowpiercer everyone is on a speeding bullet train in the middle of a new ice age, plummeting through an Earth turned deadly to human life. There is nowhere else to go, the train is all...and of course the train has created classes of people. If you follow the metaphor it's almost like our Earth, spinning the cosmos, it's all we have and we're all on this earth trying to fight each other to win to the top. When we get there we realize it's all just death and destruction, and we look back on the atrocities we committed to get there with regret.
In Parasite that prison is a house. And that greed is the Kim's undoing. They're not good people, at all. They're willing to destroy lives of other poor people, blackmail, murder, steal, lie, whatever it takes to maybe someday own the house, the prison...but as the father learns the house is not a good place. It becomes his dungeon.
I sat through the movie wondering about the title, Parasite, what could it mean. Some have said that the title is about the Kim's and you could definitely draw that conclusion, they are almost parasitic in their destruction of lives....and I really struggled with this almost both sides-ism that seemed to be represented here. Like rich and poor alike are just evil people out to destroy each other...and maybe under capitalism that is true, if we use capitalism's means. Perhaps that's the point? I will just point out here that despite the Park's wealth, and yes their condescension and even depiction of disgust based on smell is not in any way a comparison to what the Kims are willing to do to get on top....yet perhaps there's validity in the quote the mother says as she hits the dog away cruelly...they're rich, they can afford to be nice.
But i'm not sure that's the title meaning. No i think it comes from the rock....the rock is the parasite, and what does the rock represent? Wealth. The son says it, it clings to him, follows him whereever he goes, the desire for wealth....like a parasite.
And in the end the parasite destroys us all, unless we can lay it down, and seek to create an equal world for all...
I know Bong Joon Ho set out to make a film that wasn't a message film, that it was more about the crushing world of reality..and it's definitely a crushing film, almost too crushing. That rock is damn heavy. Still I feel like watching it in light of the similar themes to Snowpiercer I'm able to see a critique of classism and capitalism here, but mostly of the brokenness that comes from those on the bottom trying to get to the top, whatever it takes. In that way where Snowpiercer is almost about the evils of those on the upper half of society, Parasite is about the way that capitalism can make monsters even of those on the lower half as well. But let's be clear, the evil is capitalism itself...and maybe that message isn't as clear here, nor was it Bong Joon Ho's intention, but keeping it in mind at least kept me from kind of hating this movie...because the Kim's are such terrible people and I didn't like them at all...I cried for the housekeeper and her husband, and even felt sad for the limo driver....and I needed to see there being a point to depicting the poor in such a starkly horrific light...
Anyways...maybe i didnt love this as much as other people on here do, I'm glad for its Oscar though, diversity in cinema and celebrating that diversity is good
I still prefer Snowpiercer though