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  • Writer's pictureDrew Cheskin

Ki-Woo: A Symbiote Among Parasites

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

Despite the movie’s title, there are no parasites in the movie, or are there?

Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” is a wild thriller that keeps one at the edge of their seat while still having a few chances to laugh. Despite the movie’s title, there are no parasites, at most just a symbolic stick bug flicked away by Kim. While the film focuses on the entire Kim family, Kim Ki-woo, played by Choi Woo-shik is the one who was the catalyst to the plot and has more depth to his motivations besides money.

In the beginning, Kim Ki-Woo’s friend Min-hyuk is an English tutor for Da-hye the daughter of the wealthy Park family, and asks Kim Ki-Woo to take over for him as he is going off to University in the United States. He trusted no one else besides Ki-Woo to look over Da-hye his love interest. Kim Ki-Woo gets his sister Kim Ki-jung to forge a university admissions letter and due to Ki-Woo being a good actor, like the rest of his family, he lands the job. With money in his eyes and wanting to elevate his family’s social status, he decides to get rid of the other workers of the Park family so his family can swoop in and take the jobs and get the money. Ki-jung becomes an art therapist for Park Da-song, the rowdy son of the Park family. Ki-jung manages it to make look like the Park driver was having sex in the car so he was fired, then Kim Ki-taek took place as the Park driver. Finally framing Gook Moon-gwang, the Park housekeeper, as having Tuberculosis by exploiting the housekeeper’s allergy: peaches; Chung-sook takes her place. With all the competition eliminated, the Kim family has infected the Park household, free to use the house basically as their own and make money. Ki-Woo ends up having a relationship with Park Da-hye and wants to be with her the rest of his life; ironically his actions being against his friend’s wishes. Ki-Woo is not as greedy with the supplies of the house. As the Kim family were at their peak, Gook Moon-gwang returned to the house to go into the basement and feed her husband, Oh Geun-se since no one knew he was down there so he would have starved if Moon-gwang has not fed him. Due to a series of misunderstandings, an all-out brawl happens between the Kim family and the Gook couple. The Kim family shoves their opponents into the basement so the ex-housekeeper could not expose them as frauds to the Park family. After the conflict, Park Da-song had a birthday party thrown for him. As the food is being prepared; Chung-sook sends Ki-Woo to take a dish down to the basement captives, but Oh Geun-se becomes violent and bashes Ki-Woo’s head causing mass bleeding, fortunately Ki-Woo survives. Oh Geun-se continues his violence spree and crashes the party and stabs Ki-jung ending her life. Even though Kim Ki-taek and Choi Yeon-gyo sustained injuries, they survived as well. Ki-taek, in a flurry of anger and shock stabbed and killed Park Dong-ik. Ki-taek flees into the Park’s basement to bide his time and eventually find the day to return to a normal life. Ki-Woo’s head trauma causes him to laugh randomly as if he were The Joker, even laughing when seeing a picture of his deceased sister. Ki-Woo regains some of his sanity and promises he will make enough money to eventually buy the Park’s house and live there with his mother and father.

Kim Ki-Woo clearly wanted his family to live a better life and have a relationship with Park Day-hye while the rest of his family just wanted to climb the social ladder. He only wanted the best for his family and his questionable methods was his ultimate downfall; even after the tragedies he faced, he planned on picking himself up by the bootstrap and making things right in his family. He was a symbiote amongst parasites.

by Drew Cheskin

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