How “Parasite” Delivered One Of The Best Twists In Cinema | The Art Of Film

How “Parasite” Delivered One Of The Best Twists In Cinema | The Art Of Film


Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” is a virtually perfect
film on every level. On the surface, its technical execution is so precise and immaculate that it’s hard to notice the
film’s greatest achievement hiding underneath: the screenplay. For Bong, who has written every
single film in his career, “Parasite” is essentially a culmination of everything he’s learned over the years. But in its more than two hours of runtime, there is a single moment that truly exemplifies his genius, a sequence that transforms “Parasite” into cinematic perfection. [doorbell rings] Like all great stories, “Parasite” has a beginning, a middle, and an end, yet it never quite follows the usual three-act structure we’re familiar with. Instead, the film plays a
lot like two separate movies that are joined into one. The first film deals
with the two families: the impoverished Kims,
who plan to infiltrate the wealthy Parks by
each posing as a tutor, a driver, and a housekeeper. But it creates an odd moment in the story about 50 minutes in, after the Kims have removed
all of the existing employees to essentially take over the house. Suddenly, there’s no conflict
left to carry the film, and the story comes to a literal stop. But it’s the sequence that bridges the end of the first film
to the unexpected second where Bong stages his attack. Let’s take a look. Bong begins the sequence
by visually establishing the Kims’ false sense of success, having dedicated an
entire previous sequence to show the Kims reaping
the rewards of their scheme. But he does it most effectively with a simple parallel image using a window, a motif of luxury that was introduced earlier in the film. The Kims, who had previously
been subjected to the views of ordinary life outside
their basement apartment, discover privacy as a form of luxury. Yet, despite all of this, their success is only downplayed by their dialogue, which emphasizes just
how far they are from it. Bong keeps the dialogue engaging by faking out three moments of tension that gradually build over time. These moments are known
as beats in a dialogue. Each beat organically
interrupts and changes the flow and the topic of conversation. Until it seemingly
explodes on the third beat. [glass shatters] [both laughing] [doorbell rings] It’s no coincidence that this doorbell marks the exact midpoint
of the screenplay, appearing on page 71 out
of a 141-page script. It’s a sound that signifies
the end of the first film and what Bong refers to as
“the real start of the film.” It’s a brilliantly foreboding moment after a series of peaceful sequences. The audience is aware that
something is about to go wrong, they just aren’t sure what it is. This is probably the
best moment to talk about the films that inspired “Parasite.” Bong has mentioned several, and the most obvious is
Kim Ki-young’s 1960 film “The Housemaid,” which
features a similar story about a poor maid infiltrating the rich. But thematically, its most
interesting inspiration comes from Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 film “High and Low,” one of the first films that used height as a visual representation of class, with the rich towering above and the poor living underneath. “Parasite” expands upon this idea through another visual
motif introduced earlier: stairs. On second viewing, it’s incredible to see how vertical the film is right from its opening image. Whenever a character
climbs a flight of stairs, it’s a visual symbol of the
rise in the social class, while the walk down suggests the opposite. Just like the window,
it’s this very sequence where Bong starts to take advantage of all the visual concepts
he set up earlier, and it’s the reason why we feel so uneasy in a moment like this. The film that most heavily
inspired “Parasite” is probably Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” The two films share a surprising
number of similarities. Both mainly feature a house that almost becomes a character itself, the architecture guiding the film and sometimes hiding
the truth in plain sight on another level. And, most importantly, the
game-changing twist midway was also done most popularly
by Hitchcock in “Psycho,” who killed his main character exactly halfway through the film. What makes the twist
in “Parasite” so great is that it’s as predictable as it is impossible to see coming. The basement in question is featured only twice in the film for less than a minute before its actual role is revealed. But it’s a twist that
doesn’t feel out of question, as we’ve seen it happen already, just through the eyes of another family. The truth finally reveals itself. And Bong expertly reveals the twist strictly from the Kims’ perspective through a handheld camera. As the lighting, camera, tempo, and even the genre of the film changes, what awaits at the end of the tunnel is an entirely different film. All in 10 minutes of a sequence. What makes “Parasite” so perfect is that it understands the
rules and power of storytelling. Everything on screen
has a specific purpose and a meaning that transforms
the story as it unpacks. And it’s ironic that, as
brilliant as Bong’s plan for the story is, the genius of “Parasite” lies in the 10-minute sequence where an entire plan
is demolished on sight.

100 thoughts on “How “Parasite” Delivered One Of The Best Twists In Cinema | The Art Of Film

  • February 26, 2020 at 10:51 am
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    Why was the face of the housekeeper already wounded the moment she rang the doorbell? Could someone explain, thanks!

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  • February 26, 2020 at 10:55 am
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    How u guys watch parasite

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  • February 26, 2020 at 11:43 am
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    The best thing about movie was porn scene

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  • February 26, 2020 at 12:29 pm
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    I watch a lot of Kdramas and I'm a fan of them, and yes, they do love to switch genres!

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  • February 26, 2020 at 1:37 pm
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    I mean yeah, that’s a really good movie, but one of the best twists in the cinema? not really

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  • February 26, 2020 at 1:57 pm
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    When it starts to rain while the Kims were enjoying their time on the luxurious living room, i was so nervous because i know the Park will return home. There's no way the parents would want their children to sleep in a tent when it's raining so hard like that. I was like "stop stop stop drinking n eating clean up all those mess right now!" and when the doorbell rang, i literally panicking 😂

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  • February 26, 2020 at 2:53 pm
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    Hehe Kuk Dong. Kuk in Swedish is dick

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  • February 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm
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    The movie is so on the nose with its metaphors that Stevie Wonder pick up on them. This movie is far from the genius that people are making it out to be.

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  • February 26, 2020 at 6:47 pm
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    It might just be me but I think there are many other Asian films that are on the same level of screenplay and especially dialogue as Parasite. It's just this one that the stars kinda aligned for allowing it to reach the heights that it did. Again not saying it's not worthy cause it definitely is, it's just that there are many Eastern movies like this that doesn't get the same kind of treatment. I should also add that I'm so happy for its success because hopefully now more movies from the east will be taken as seriously as western productions are.

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  • February 27, 2020 at 12:36 am
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    This masterpiece made Bong Joon-Ho secured his immortal place in the history of filmmaking

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  • February 27, 2020 at 12:46 am
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    Did anyone else laugh out loud at Mr Kim slowly smelling his shirt while hiding under the table after hearing the parks complain of his stench? and when he just laid there flat like a slug in the middle of floor hiding in plain sight? 😂😂

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  • February 27, 2020 at 1:29 am
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    This is all so metaphorical

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  • February 27, 2020 at 2:07 am
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    eat the rich

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  • February 27, 2020 at 2:54 am
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    This film is so incredible that every comment on here about it has solid thumbs up.

    Reply
  • February 27, 2020 at 3:04 am
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    I've seen many south korean movies and the majority of them changes its genre in the middle of the film it is why most of them last 2 hours because there are two parts which are different. For example, the first half (1H) will be happy and funny and the second half (1H) will be hectic, "darker', and sad. It is also the same with south korean dramas by the way. This type of storytelling is very common in South Korea so I am not as "surprised" as some people.

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  • February 27, 2020 at 4:41 am
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    It was okay but I missed a lot reading the subs.

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  • February 27, 2020 at 5:01 am
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    This movie gave me more anxiety than when i watched The Shining 😭

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  • February 27, 2020 at 5:29 am
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    masterpiece one evry level

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  • February 27, 2020 at 10:09 am
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    I feel like parasite is highly predictable if you watch enough asian films. it’s a new take and a new setting but the “plot twist”is easy enough to guess. I really thought the genius of this film must be in the details because at first glance it’s just another good korean film.

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  • February 27, 2020 at 11:25 am
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    I loved snowpiercer and okja it's just parasite is in another level of greatness

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  • February 27, 2020 at 12:04 pm
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    Does no one ever realized the similarities between the man in the basement and the paintings of the Da Song? I believe it's not a self-portrait.

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  • February 27, 2020 at 12:16 pm
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    The rock resembles his conscience/remorse for having something going on with the girl and acting as tutor while in reality its just a plan. But the movie also depicts the problems rich people have to deal with(trust issues etc), while also showing the decadency, its somehow the rich families own fault to display their wealth in such a manner, which in order then causes poor people to become greedy and opportunistic. Really thought provoking.

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  • February 27, 2020 at 12:40 pm
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    As soon as the father ran away I knew exactly where he was going. Saw that twist a mile off…

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  • February 27, 2020 at 2:22 pm
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    I suppose that it's not easy to understand the reason why Kim Ki-jeong or "Jessica" is the only one member of the family that is really capable of "climbing up" the social status without knowing the South Korean culture. In South Korea the physical aspect really takes an important role in the perception and in the social status of an individual. You can say that the society believes in physiognomy, a practice of assessing a person's character or personality from their outer appearance—especially the face, so if you're beautiful or handsome, you're also a good person and you really have the potential to be "someone" in the future. From a practical point of view, you always have to include your photo when you send a CV for a job and often people choose you because for your appearance. So one of the reason why Kim Ki-jeong is the only one who can really change her social status is also because her appareance go well with the Korean standards of beauty (white and perfect skin, skinny body, ecc.). This is why her brother Ki-woo says that she can fit in the context. I'm not saying that the other members of the family are not beautiful or handsome, but their physical aspect probably do not respect the Korean standards of beauty. In an interview, the actor who interpretates Ki-woo says that the make-up artists did not cover his pimples because they fit the character.

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  • February 27, 2020 at 3:56 pm
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    The ending was so sad. At first I got happy because I thought he actually bought the house

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  • February 27, 2020 at 6:29 pm
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    best movie ever, I’m just so amazed with it

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  • February 27, 2020 at 9:16 pm
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    Guys, remember the morse code in this film? I think it is not just the yellow bulb, but also in the house or basement of the Kim family. The lights flicker too much.

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  • February 27, 2020 at 10:53 pm
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    I'll name this: "THE KOREAN GREAT GATSBY" Your welcome.

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  • February 28, 2020 at 1:04 am
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    wow amazing!

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  • February 28, 2020 at 12:15 pm
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    When the scene where they're drunk in sofa i was thinking about "well,what's next?" Then i think it's going to be great ending with kims family take over the house or the boy married Da Hye,but damn,after that doorbell everything change,and i still can't get it over since i left the theatre until now. Parasite is a true masterpiece

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  • February 28, 2020 at 12:27 pm
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    This goes to show how much of an advantage it is to have knowledge on how people actually act and communicate, and how to set up scenes that can irk a person in some way, or deliver a hidden message. I read somewhere that Bong studied sociology, that's why the characters are so believable and realistic. They act like people you could meet everyday.

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  • February 28, 2020 at 12:38 pm
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    Also the part when the rich wife says buy me drugs to the touchy husband. Says a lot almost as if the hole is deeper then it seems

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  • February 28, 2020 at 1:25 pm
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    What I love about this film is that the story doesn't end when it finishes. You keep discovering more details and secrets you didn't notice while watching… I love watching these videos and reading the comments! The director really thought every single detail, it's amazing!

    Reply
  • February 28, 2020 at 1:51 pm
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    Hollywood could never.

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  • February 28, 2020 at 2:10 pm
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    Damn, a doorbell beat the purge siren 😂.

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  • February 28, 2020 at 3:23 pm
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    I watched Parasite recently and I remember my emotions when that basement scene happened it really was a huge twist I haven't felt this way for a movie for a long time it was truly brilliant work👍 I need to rewatch it hehe

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  • February 28, 2020 at 5:46 pm
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    I haven't watched the movie why am i-

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  • February 28, 2020 at 7:29 pm
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    The little boy saw the old housekeeper's husband's morse signal, andgot "h-l-p m-e". Then did not do anything.Some say he didn't understand, some that he didn't care, but what if it comes back to his attention when he's older? Or will he just think it's a twisted memory due to trauma? Would be interesting to think he one day decides to check it out!

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  • February 28, 2020 at 8:24 pm
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    The narrator just making assumptions on his own director not even thought so reggresively.

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  • February 28, 2020 at 8:47 pm
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    So here's an unpopular opinion: Parasite is overrated and not that great at all.

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  • February 28, 2020 at 11:17 pm
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    Why we not gonna acknowledge the two lowkey bang sounds throughout the whole film??? Surely it ties in with the basement dad making noise downstairs the whole time

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  • February 29, 2020 at 2:05 am
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    I give this essay a c plus

    Reply
  • February 29, 2020 at 8:28 am
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    If only they had more empathy and compassion

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  • February 29, 2020 at 11:54 am
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    1:40 "let me add another into the mix" right before the new parasite is revealed holy shiiiit

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  • February 29, 2020 at 3:22 pm
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    the last line of the "first film" is: "I fooled you, too, didn't it seem real?"

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  • February 29, 2020 at 4:09 pm
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    It was OK, if it was a Hollywood movie no way would it have won, but because it was ethnic the virtual signaling lefties came in their pants.

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  • February 29, 2020 at 4:56 pm
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    Is there a separate insider channel that only has videos about film?

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  • February 29, 2020 at 5:15 pm
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    you sound like a knock-off nerdwriter1

    Reply
  • February 29, 2020 at 10:37 pm
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    The sofa scene of Mr and Mrs. Park
    "counterclockwise" same as opening the hidden basement

    Reply
  • February 29, 2020 at 11:34 pm
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    This movie is just AMAZING! The more you know about filming the movie the more interesting it gets. 🔥🔥

    Reply
  • March 1, 2020 at 12:23 am
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    As you go on in life, you learn that rich people don't actually own all that nice stuff. It's all on payments. The rich house must have a secret hiding place to evade creditors.
    In fact, the Parks are simply a younger version of Ki-taek and his family. They just haven't had their fall from grace yet(it happens late in the film).
    The brother and sister with the pizza shop are an even younger version of Ki-taek and Geun-sae. While the older generation had their cake shops, the new generation has pizza shops. The doomed outcome is foreshadowed when Ki-taek's apartment is fumigated and the pizza boxes are covered by insecticide.

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  • March 1, 2020 at 3:01 am
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    Ironic, your favorite part of the film was my least favorite. The transition simply was what broke the film in the slightest way for me. Because it didn’t feel like one movie, just two incomplete ones jumbled together. The movie couldn’t decide what it was and that jarring switch broke the movies tone and tension too fast, the movie needed probably 30 minutes to slowly make things go wrong until we get the reveal but instead it all is thrown at us in barely 10 minutes. Essentially throwing away all tension from the first half

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  • March 1, 2020 at 3:27 am
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    The symbolisms in this drama are classic. As for surprises, there wasn't any for me. If you've seen enough Asian dramas, the "twist" wasn't a surprise at all.

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  • March 1, 2020 at 3:27 am
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    Overrated movie

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  • March 1, 2020 at 3:36 am
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    the twist literally made me feel crazy when I saw it. I can’t remember the last time I was so physically tense in the cinema, it made me dizzy.

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  • March 1, 2020 at 2:18 pm
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    The funniest scene when Jessica's mother yeet moon gwang when she served the ram don

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  • March 1, 2020 at 2:52 pm
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    Nobody analyzed why when the old maid appeared she was all beaten up!

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  • March 1, 2020 at 5:44 pm
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    jessica/ki-jung was the most capable and the only one that didn't have to replace anyone to get that job and the job that she got was the only one that would have translated to a marketable skill outside the Park's house in the real world (unlike housekeeper, driver, tutor). I think what Jessica represents is the middle class, and her death at the end symbolises the death of the middle class leading to an even bigger gap between the classes, leaving behind only the very poor and the very rich.

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  • March 1, 2020 at 5:58 pm
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    0:36 "…into cinematic perfecti….." Looks like you messed up the edit.

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  • March 1, 2020 at 6:45 pm
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    in the first scene they were already introduced as parasites when they were using other peoples wifi

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  • March 1, 2020 at 7:20 pm
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    They got super greedy & unethical. They could have stopped at english, art teacher — or even driver. But they had also threw out the housekeeper – which led to next events. Sad story.

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  • March 1, 2020 at 7:59 pm
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    Anyone know the name of the soundtrack at 4.06?

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  • March 1, 2020 at 8:16 pm
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    i find it so weird how i was on the edge of my seat praying the family didn't get caught. In hindsight it looks like they would have been sentenced to prison, no physical harm would have happened. But at the time, i really though Mr Park would slaughter them.
    I also found it interesting that Mr Kim detested stink bugs, it almost brings a new meaning as to why he did what he did in the ending.

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  • March 1, 2020 at 8:29 pm
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    how more we gotta over rate this it aint exactly Oldboy .. it reminds me of when 'US' came out and everyone was making up stuff about that forgetting how ridiculous the film is.

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  • March 1, 2020 at 10:58 pm
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    I know there will be pushback but I personally didn't enjoy the film quite as much as everyone else seems to have done.

    I felt the film was erratic, it has wild swings in tempo, pace, narrative style, and as this video summed up, it was like watching two completely different films stitched into one. I didn't enjoy this aspect about it at all.

    Even if I don't dispute the best film status, I fail to see how this could have possibly won best director ahead of 1917.

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  • March 2, 2020 at 2:33 am
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    I was a little let down at the end at first. I was expecting a more jaw-dropping ending after all the hype. I was overthinking it and had a whole other thought process for what would happen like I thought the Park's knew they were being scammed. After watching this I have a better appreciation for the movie and the ending. I love all of the symbolism and how the movie really showcases the class status distinctions in many different dynamics. The only frustrating thing was having to rewind it several times to read the dialogue. You definitely have to keep your focus on the screen to follow what's happening but it is well worth it for sure. Fantastic and brilliant movie!

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  • March 2, 2020 at 3:14 am
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    Even though the Kims were on a bit darker side than that couple we tend to be with kims! Whatever we see more or enjoy more tends to be our favorite! 🤔

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  • March 2, 2020 at 3:25 am
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    It is said that the Park’s house is a character in the film,but the cell phone also plays a vital part throughout….especially when the original maid was
    threatening to hit “send”❗️

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  • March 2, 2020 at 4:31 am
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    Simply 50 mins later then everything is the climax

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  • March 2, 2020 at 6:57 am
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    Personally I think the movie is a BIT overrated, but still an amazing masterpiece that Really needs to be seen if you are a fan of film.

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  • March 2, 2020 at 9:11 am
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    Can you do a reaction on the movie "The Handmaiden". It's another Korean Movie that somewhat posseses the intensity that this movie has.

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  • March 2, 2020 at 1:10 pm
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    I'm surprised they didn't eat dog meat

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  • March 2, 2020 at 1:42 pm
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    Omg that one "ghost" scene where the boy gets scared actually creeped me out so much like I still see those eyes in my staircase at night

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  • March 2, 2020 at 2:08 pm
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    Director is so clever that he killed the most clever person in the family that is Jessica, because she helped the family into conning with the panty thing and also the peach dust allergy. Such an intelligent storyteller!

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  • March 2, 2020 at 2:57 pm
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    Literally Jessica (I forgot name) is the most shining out in this movie.

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  • March 2, 2020 at 8:38 pm
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    thus here goes the saying " The best plan is having no plan"

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  • March 2, 2020 at 10:24 pm
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    I will completely disagree and say that the reveal of the bunker while unexpected was not dramatic or appalling. All I felt was the movie contorting on itself. As far as symbols are concerned, I see a lot of comments trying to find meaning where I cannot feel the intent of the director in producing them. The stone was the most apparent example for me. I know it's a metaphor and yet I can see it fails to produce any meaning, at least for me.

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  • March 3, 2020 at 12:11 am
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    I've always wondered what happened to the Rich Son understanding the Morse code the guy in the basement sent. Can someone enlighten me? Or perhaps you can make your own theory 😀

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  • March 3, 2020 at 1:13 am
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    As an aspiring architect, the use of stairs and the integral role of the house in the plot was just spectacular

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  • March 3, 2020 at 1:16 am
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    Can we all agree that the flashback scene where the little boy got some cake and the crazy dude slowly ascended the staircase was the creepiest shit that we've seen ever.

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  • March 3, 2020 at 3:20 am
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    This video is also splitted in two where the doorbell is in the middle of this very video… kekekek

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  • March 3, 2020 at 3:33 am
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    Does anybody figure why the former maid looks like she was in an accident when she came back to the Parks house?

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  • March 3, 2020 at 1:55 pm
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    Suddenly everyone is an English teacher in here, trying to find the deeper meaning of the movie lol

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  • March 3, 2020 at 3:14 pm
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    The twist was moronic. Wjy the guy just opened the cellar/bunker carrying that stupid stone

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  • March 3, 2020 at 6:07 pm
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    I realize the film is longer than its running time. So many things to digest 🤯

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  • March 3, 2020 at 6:47 pm
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    Just saw it in theaters for the 2nd time, and I flipping ADORE this movie…very, very well done 👌🏻👌🏻

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  • March 3, 2020 at 8:34 pm
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    Emperor's New Clothes, the film is a bag of tripe.

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  • March 3, 2020 at 8:39 pm
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    Why did they let the former maid in. That part could have easily been avoided

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  • March 4, 2020 at 12:27 am
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    The film has a lot of loose ends and illogical at times. For example, the Dad would of had to run past his son bleeding on the floor to hide in the cellar. He then assumes he’s alive and signals to him in Morse code. The 1st maid comes back and is bruised in the face with no explanation. Who hires people to fold boxes at home then inefficiently collects the folded boxes in a van? The family is the victim of a flood one night then magically appear the next day showered with fresh laundered clothes.

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  • March 4, 2020 at 12:50 am
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    I thought that the old maid just left her wallet in the house and the family will kill her but then unexpected thing happen 😩

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  • March 4, 2020 at 3:33 am
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    The scene where the family is relaxing in the mansion, Jessica is in the bathtub. It is as if she is washing off the “smell” Mr. Park says crosses the line.

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  • March 4, 2020 at 4:06 am
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    That moment where the camera delves deeper into the basement is when Parasite went from a comedy to a thriller. Such an amazing film.

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  • March 4, 2020 at 11:10 am
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    This movie is amazing. It’s got a bit of everything including, humour, romance, drama, horror, thriller, comedy, suspense, JUST EVERYTHING 👏

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  • March 4, 2020 at 11:11 am
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    So no one’s gonna talk about the dude stole his friend’s girl 😔

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  • March 4, 2020 at 1:31 pm
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    The house is designed by architect Namgoong Hyeonja.

    If you look at his first name, it loosely translates to "strike a gong" in english. A "gong" refers to a Southeast Asian musical percussion instrument. The gong produces a resonating effect or waves of motion when struck, the moment in the movie where the "gong was struck" was when Namgoong Hyeonja built that house. After he stopped living there, the park family took his place and after the park is gone, another rich family will take that place, and this cycle continues forever. The rich will always exploit the works of the poor and the cycle will never end.

    The symbolism in this movie will never cease to amaze me!

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  • March 4, 2020 at 2:28 pm
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    Jessica was only family member who was 'fit in' to the upper class, therefore she was punished by the same class

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  • March 4, 2020 at 6:29 pm
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    Horror movies should take notes on this movie instead of using cheap predictable jump scares to scare us. Seeing the old house keeper ring the doorbell was enough to scare me into thinking what would I do if I were in their situation.

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  • March 4, 2020 at 7:32 pm
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    I like when she is concussed and vomits in the toilet and it cuts to Jessica trying to close her own toilet as sewage blasts out because of the flood. As if they’re instantly being punished for what they’ve done.

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  • March 4, 2020 at 8:46 pm
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    When the basement opened, everybody in the theatre shivered. Like, oh no. Not liking this.

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  • March 4, 2020 at 11:37 pm
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    I realised one of the trailers for this movie foreshadows everything. The first part of it makes you think, wow this looks like a charming but silly comedy movie or something. Then they play the doorbell sound, and the music derails into an intense beat and creepy string music, and every clip without context after that is mildly disturbing or suspenseful. The pacing of that trailer matches the pacing of the film to a T.

    You know which trailer I’m talking about👀

    Reply

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