A lower class Korean family is struggling to make ends meet. When the teenage son suddenly lands a cushy job as an English tutor for a rich girl, his inner con artist comes out and he hatches an elaborate plan: One by one, he will get the rich girl's gullible parents to fire their son's art tutor, then their chauffeur, then their live-in housekeeper. And in turn the positions will be filled by his sister, his father, and his mother, respectively. Of course, part of the con is that each member of this family must play the part of a professional, and they can't let on that they're related.
That's the first half of Parasite, and while it's amusing to watch these grifters bamboozle their self-absorbed, delusional employers, you can't help but dread the consequences of their actions. But if you think you can guess what comes next, I guarantee you that you will be wrong, wrong, wrong. Because Parasite hinges on a plot twist that may be patently absurd, but Bong and his cowriter Jin Won-han deliver it so convincingly that you just give up your disbelief and go along for the ride. The film is funny, then it's darkly funny, then it's just plain dark.
To reveal any more would be despicable, but beneath Parasite's energetic storytelling lie bitter truths about the insurmountable gulf between the haves and the have-nots: even if these people congratulate themselves on how cleverly they obtained their phony jobs, they are still, in the end, only servants. At its heart, Parasite is a message movie – and an urgent one at that. But don't let that deter you from enjoying lots of delicious, coal-black excitement, even as the plot descends into barbarity.