This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Lizard King’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Park Dong-ik and Park Yeon-kyo are engaged in sexual activity on their couch. Dong-ik tells Yeon-kyo that if she were to put on the cheap panties they found in their car earlier, he would become more aroused. Hearing this, Yeon-kyo moans, "buy me drugs," as if she were the girl who had left the panties.
This scene is the one that has stuck with me the most since seeing this movie. And, rather than gush about how incredible this movie is, I'd like to give my analysis of this scene.
The tension and edge-of-your-seat thrills of the previous scenes have already sucked in the viewer. The Kim family has almost been caught together inside the Park's house. And now, three of them must hide underneath a table and wait for Dong-ik and Yeon-kyo to fall asleep. The scent of Kim Ki-taek has almost given them away, but luckily, Dong-ik and Yeon-kyo begin to get turned on and engage in the previously mentioned sexual activity.
Now, some may see this as your run-of-the-mill sex scene in a movie. But, I think Bong Joon-ho is smarter than that. He has purposely gotten your attention so you will focus on this specific scene, which epitomizes the themes of the entire film. This scene is a metaphor for how the wealthy find pleasure in the suffering of the lower classes. As long as the lower class is suffering, the wealthy are on top and successful. We’ve seen the struggles of poverty through the eyes of the Kim family. They have trouble finding jobs, barely have enough to eat, and live in a basement. The Park family are able to live their lavish and successful lives because of the plights of the lower class. Their pleasure is dependent on those beneath them suffering, hence why the scent of the subway turns them on. It reminds them that they are rich and powerful and that others aren’t. It’s kinda fucked up and super twisted.
But, that’s what Parasite is. It’s a combination of making characters seem relatable and then showing the fucked up things they do. Because, under capitalism, everyone has to cheat to get ahead in a system that favors the wealthy. The only question is this: who is justified in their actions, and who will live to tell their tale?
Thank you Bong Joon-ho. Very cool.