The reveal of Geun Se comes over an hour into the film, and as such you’d think there would be less time for us to get to know him as a character. However, in every short scene that takes place in the bunker, our understanding of Geun Se is fully formed, so that by the time he finally emerges up the stairs to enact his revenge, we can believe what he is capable of.
One such character moment is the reveal that the lights above the stairs in the Park household are not operated by a sensor, as they presume, but are manually turned on and off each night by Geun Se as a symbol of devotion to Mr Park, and gratitude to the family who unknowingly have let him live in their home for four years. Ki-taek can’t help but watch Geun Se in amazement, trying to wrap his head around a life trapped in this isolation. As Geun Se shouts out his respect to Mr Park, we see how truly unhinged he has become in his solitude, and how wholeheartedly he applies himself to whatever he can.
7. Ki-taek’s Letter, Ki-woo’s Plan
The ending of Parasite can feel like a needlessly prolonged epilogue, but the final ten minutes offer some semblance of hope in a film that doesn’t provide much. As Ki-woo sits outside the house where their entire lives changed, he notices that the lights are flashing a message in morse code; we now know where Ki-taek has been hiding all this time. We see the remorse of Ki-taek, the pain of his solitude, we get a sense of what has happened to the house in the years since.
In response, Ki-woo, delighted to discover that his father is alive, writes his response. In a sunlight-doused dream sequence, Ki-woo imagines a future for himself, making a plan to get rich and buy that house, for him and Chung Sook to be reunited with the man they loved, for Ki-taek to finally receive freedom. It’s a scene which feels fantastical and beautiful, and is depicted in a way that you almost believe it’s real. As the camera pans back down to Ki-woo in the family’s semi-basement in the dead of winter, you clutch onto the ambiguity of it all, and pray that this dream will one day be his reality.
6. No Plan
Kim Ki-taek is a man who believes in always having a plan. This much is clear from the very start of the film, and continues to be shown through his dialogue, his actions, and from the actions of his children. The Kims are always planning, always scheming, always working towards the next goal. However, as they flee the Park house, and as the rain falls more heavily, you can see Ki-taek’s resolve begin to fail. As Ki-jung desperately screams at her father trying to work out what to do, you can see that while he tries to keep it cool, he is starting to realise that too many unexpected circumstances keep getting in the way of their plans.
Later that night, as the family try to sleep in a school gym with others affected by the flood, Ki-taek tells Ki-woo, “You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan.” His son still tries to keep plotting next steps, but Ki-taek has become a weary old man at this point; he has finally let go of his need for control. It’s a significant character moment, setting up for the impulsivity and lack of control that defines his climatic moments at the garden party.
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