Get lots of references for your new hires, 3.5 readers.
BQB here with a review of this Oscar Winner for Best Picture.
I know a lot of people won’t watch movies with subtitles, not out of an aversion to foreign films but because if they want to watch a movie, they don’t want to read.
I get it and I admit, the subject matter really has to intrigue me to watch a subtitled movie. Ultimately, to read the subtitles requires a lot of concentration. You can’t do other things during the movie, and you definitely can’t get up to take a wizz or microwave a chimichanga.
Thus, I waited for an evening where I could give my TV my full, undivided attention and I’m glad I did.
This movie starts out strong as a fun, lighthearted comedy. The Kim family are poor in cash but rich in spirit, taking their impoverished lives as basement dwelling pizza box folders in stride, making jokes as they search for free wi-fi, all the while dodging the various bug and homeless bum urine streams that threaten to wreak havoc on their cramped home.
When Son uses forged credentials to defraud his way into a position as a tutor to the daughter of the wealthy Park family, inspiration strikes. One by one, the Kims paint a humorous masterpiece of deceit, setting up the Park family’s servants to be fired so that they can, whilst posing with fake identities, take on those jobs themselves. Sister, Dad, Mom all get in on the act and before you know it, they are all on the Park family payroll and able to pay for luxuries like wifi and pest extermination. Alas, the peeing bum never stops peeing.
It’s hard to not root for the Kims. They are poor through no fault of their own. We learn that Dad has suffered through one lousy job after the next, being laid off or having companies he worked for go out of business. The world economy has suffered greatly over the past several years, and when there is a mention of a security guard position that gets 500 applicants with college degrees, one can’t help but think that poor folk like the Kims can’t pull themselves out of the gutter without a bit of subterfuge.
Meanwhile, the Parks are lovable but hopelessly naive and trusting. Having not suffered much in life, they never developed that inner bullshit detector that causes them to question certain situations so as to avoid being duped. Mother Park is all about fancy parties and doting on the children while servants do all the heavy lifting. Father Park is all about business. You eventually come to love both families. You want the Kims to succeed, but you don’t want the Parks to be hurt.
Unfortunately, at the midpoint, the film takes a dark turn and goes from witty comedy to blood soaked horror fest. The laughs are lost and the mayhem ensues. While I get the film had to go somewhere, I don’t agree with the direction it went at all and feel there were plenty of other options.
I won’t give it away, though I’m not sure it jived with the film’s overall message, or at least my interpretation of it. I thought the film was trying to say a) sometimes a family can do everything right and still be poor and when the economy tanks, it’s hard to blame them for trying to fib their way to the top. B) When you juxtapose the plenty of the Parks with the little of the Kims, it can be easy to hate on the rich and demand they turn over all of their shit to the poor. But then again, keep in mind that there are nice rich people and kneecapping the people who are winning the race of life doesn’t really do much to help those who are losing win.
A happy ending would have been great but….for some reason, there was just a lot of murder. Maybe there are no happy endings when it comes to class warfare.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. I’d like to see a re-cut with a happy ending. There was actually one point in the film where I thought it was going to ramp up the silliness and lead to a silly ending but…nope. That point was abandoned for murder. So much murder.
Maybe after you 3.5 readers have a chance to see it I’ll say how I thought it should have ended.