The Parasite Character Twist The Film's Editor Wasn't Sure They Could Pull Off

Parasite Kim family
(Image credit: (CJ Entertainment))

MAJOR SPOILERS are ahead for Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. This isn’t a movie you want to read about before you watch it.

Parasite was once a whisper on the festival circuit, but it has since become one of the most highly-praised films of 2019 (it was our No. 1) and a record-breaker for foreign-language films at the U.S. box office. The movie has an ability to sear its memorable images into the audience’s brain, especially during the film’s final act where Song Kang-Ho’s Ki-Taek pulls a knife on Lee Sun-Kyun’s Mr. Park.

Parasite’s Oscar-nominated editor Jinmo Yang is familar with Bong Joon Ho’s meticulous work as a filmmaker and is trusting of the specific process behind Parasite. However, he did admit to one aspect of the Best Picture nominee he wasn’t sure the filmmaker could pull off. In Yang’s words:

Overall, I didn’t really talk about in detail as far as the writing goes. However, in regard to Ki-Taek’s character [the Kim family patriarch played by Song Kang-Ho], especially his behavior when there’s a drastic change by the end, I put out a question to director Bong whether he could sell it to the audience. Whether the audience would buy his turnaround. However, at the same time, I had a great faith that with director Bong’s direction and Mr. Song’s performance, they would be able to pull it out.

In the recent interview with Slashfilm, the editor of Parasite references the last big scene of the movie. It’s a divine birthday party gone wrong when Geun-se emerges from the basement of the Park’s household with a knife in hand. He causes chaos to the celebration by murdering attendees of the party - including Ki-Taek’s daughter, Ki-jung (played by So-dam Park). But instead of Ki-Taek stopping the madness, he ends up contributing to it and murdering Mr. Park in front of the crowd.

It’s a shocking moment in Parasite, but one that Bong Joon Ho built up to over the course of his film. Throughout the vicious thriller, comedy and satire, Mr. Park does quite a few things that brush Mr. Kim and the audience the wrong way. For example, there was his comments about his specific “smell” as he and his family hide under the table listening, and when he places his hand under his daughter’s freshly-dead corpse to grab his car keys (also while plugging his nose). His blood is boiling throughout the entirety of Parasite up to that very moment.

On the page of the Parasite script, it may have looked like a daunting task from the editor’s perspective. How would the audience side with a murderer for the film’s somber finale? The last frames of the movie certainly ask for empathy from viewers for Ki-Taek’s actions. Crazy enough, Ki-Taek’s drastic choice isn’t the most jaw-dropping moment in the film though.

Bong Joon Ho’s movie is heading to the Oscars with six nominations, and an HBO television series adaptation is also on the way. What do you think? Did the filmmaker pull it off? Sound off in the comments below.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.