An excerpt from my script review for Parasite which will be available 02/25/2020:
3.) Quality of Characters
The main family (the Kims?) are all a bunch of unlikable folks, and that’s okay when you think of it based on the initial dark comedy concept.
We’re not meant to like them.
(Again, think the Korean Gallaghers.)
We don’t care for them, and for me Chung-sook was the worst. She was always so outraged that it lost some of the impact this characteristic was meant to have.
The kids were fine, but it’s mentioned at one point that Ki-woo is “no longer the man with the plan”.
Was he ever?
This is one of those techniques to avoid, using the description to set something up that your writing failed to do.
Did Ki-woo take advantage of a few situations, and scheme to set the rest of his family up?
Certainly, but he wasn’t some sort of “man of action” always having the right answer.
So when personality switches like this happen at your midpoint, you “miss the mark” on what you’re hoping to lead the reader to.
(Things can’t just happen because you say so. We need an established set up.)
Instead of presenting the reader with a journey, you’ve just handed them a map and told them to go to a specific spot.
That’s not fun in a story.
I did get excited when a delirious Mun-kwang shows up. It was a good set up for drama, until we see this random scene of her bottle feeding her husband, Kun-sae.
It didn’t make any sense, and instead of using tension to continue a dark, class based comedy with something to say about society, the characters turn into zany lunatics.
Lastly, it was unclear if Ki-tek and Dung-ik had some sexual tension going on. They’d have these exchanges of “crossing the line” and then it was described as this intense sort of stare afterwards…but nothing ever came of it so I just chalked it up to more randomness of the writing.
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