A dynamic film about cunning swindlers, vices and social inequality.
Spouses and two children live in a semi-basement in appalling conditions. They have no furniture, things are scattered everywhere, cockroaches run around. Ki Woo, played by Choi Woo Shik, and Ki Jung (Park So Dam) catch free internet. The family collects pizza boxes to earn money for food. Packages with marriage, and the employee of the pizzeria is unhappy, but the young man settles the conflict. Satisfied inhabitants of the gloomy housing celebrate the connection of the phone. A friend of Min Hyuk (Park Seo-jun) comes to the guy and gives him a gift from his grandfather – a souvenir stone, cupronickel, which brings prosperity. He is annoyed that he is forced to leave for an internship and offers to become a tutor for his beloved.
Ki Jung cleverly forges documents, and the fake student arrives at the luxurious mansion. He is greeted by housekeeper Guk Moon Gwang (Lee Jung-eun). Yong Gyo (Jo Yeo-jung), the owner of the elite estate, approves of the teacher. The guy, employers call him Kevin, meets the mischievous Da Song (Chong Hyun), who loves to draw. The swindler advises turning to a talented artist with a unique technique, while referring to his sister. Da Hye (Jung Ji) opens up to his teacher. Young people kiss timidly. Jessica starts a serious conversation with the mistress and reveals that the boy has a psychological trauma that art therapy will cure at a high price. The excited mother agrees. Dong Ik (Lee Sung Kyung) returns home and his chauffeur takes the girl home. The cunning girl came up with a cunning plan. She pulled off her underwear and left it in the car.
The owner finds a “gift”, he tells his wife about the incident, suspecting the driver not only of “don Juanism”, but also of drug use. The woman is extremely alarmed, the spouses fire the victim of intrigue. The conversation is heard by Jessica, and casually mentions that she knows an intelligent and decent elderly driver. Kim comes to the interview and makes a good impression. Adventurers ponder how to get rid of the housekeeper. She has ruled the house for many years and holds on tightly to the place. Da Hye mentioned that Moon Gwang has a terrible allergy to peaches, from this fruit she coughs, wheezes and suffocates. Kevin lets her inhale the pollen. The worker hurries to the hospital with an attack, where Kim photographs her and shows the picture to the owner. He tells that the housekeeper is ill with tuberculosis. Yong-kyo catches the servants with a persistent cough. The dodger throws up a bloody napkin, and the fate of the “old-timer” of the luxury apartments is a foregone conclusion. The master regrets the dismissal of an experienced worker, and Kim gives him a business card from a recruiting agency. A new housekeeper, Jung Suk (Jang Hye-jin), arrives at the mansion. The boy notices that all the servants smell the same.
The Packs leave to celebrate their son’s birthday. The Kims are having a good time until Moon Gwan came and asked to be let in, she forgot some things in the basement. It turned out that behind the secret door there is a bunker in which her husband, Oh Geun Sae (Park Myung Hoon), has been hiding from creditors for 4 years. The beaten woman holds out money and asks to feed a voluntary prisoner. At this time, having stumbled, the entire “clan” of Kim falls into the dungeon. The night guest takes them on the phone and threatens to send them to the owners. A married couple moves into the living room, blackmailing parasites. There is a scuffle, the cell phone is lost, Oh Geun Sae is tied up, his wife is unconscious. The bell rings, the Packs return, and the heroine Jo Yeojung asks to cook the birthday boy’s favorite dish. Jung-sook quickly cleans up and greets the Packs calmly. A woman pushes the former housekeeper down the stairs. Mrs. Park reveals that her son has health problems because of a ghost, Jang Hye Jin’s character realizes that the child saw the basement tenant.
Jessica, Kevin and their father make it out of the house unnoticed. They run in the pouring rain, their poor dwelling is flooded. The scammers spend the night in the gym, and the head admits that he has no plan, he does not know what to do next. The unfortunate prisoner in the bunker died.
A rich family organizes a grand celebration, they invite a tutor and an artist. Kim is in a terrible state, he is lost and broken. The young man decides to deal with the situation, he takes cupronickel and descends underground. He is attacked by Park Myung Hoon’s character, smashes his head and goes out into the street with a huge cleaver. The guests scatter in fear, the killer pierces Jessica’s chest. The bloody victim falls, the father hurries to her aid. Oh Geun Sae attacks Jung Sook, in a fight she stabs him with a skewer, he dies. Da Song passes out seeing the “ghost” and Ton Ik orders Kim to hand over the keys. They fall next to the body of the psychopath, Mr. Park, grimacing, picks them up. The driver recalls how contemptuously the owner speaks of his smell, falls into a state of passion and plunges a knife into the rich man. The crazy man runs away.
Kevin comes to his senses after a severe injury. He and his mother were convicted, but given a suspended sentence. His sister died and his father was never found. The young man periodically looks at the luxurious estate. He sees Morse code signals and decodes them. Dad hid in the basement, gets out while the new tenants sleep. The guy decides that he must get rich and buy an ill-fated house. He imagines himself to be a rich man, sitting in a poor closet on an old sofa.
The meaning of the film
Director Pong Joon Hov in his film raises the age-old theme of social inequality. Two parallel worlds, classic “rich” and “poor”. But the representatives of the elite do not look like deliberate exploiters, although there are notes of superiority in the conversations of the spouses. And people from the lower stratum do not cause sympathy, they are petty, selfish consumers. Impostors from the South Korean “slums” successfully penetrate not only into the exquisite home of Fortune’s favorites, but also become part of their lives. The tape reflects a certain “criminal evolution”, the main characters at the beginning of their journey to enrichment use only vile tricks without the use of physical violence, and by the end they grow up to cruel killers.
Not without political overtones, one of the characters parodies North Korean news.
Characteristics of heroes
Kevin is a smart and resourceful young man. He has a goal, he dreams of studying at the university. Impressive, a lover of metaphors, considers impudence an important quality with which you can achieve a lot. Writes behavioral scripts for relatives that invariably lead to success. In a moment of crisis, he takes responsibility, not relying on a parent, loves and justifies him.
Jessica is a bright girl. She is very artistic, quick-witted, calculates profits with lightning speed, a good psychologist and easily fools the hostess, knows how to rein in a tomboy. Gets parents to work.
Kim is the head of the family. The fraudster is weak in spirit, he sank to the “bottom”, but does not fight, but goes with the flow. He is proud of the offspring’s criminal talents. The “weakest link”, more than once teeters on the brink of a foul, is not convincing and goes beyond his image. Selfish and envious.
Jung Sook, strong and cold-blooded, did not betray her excitement when the gentlemen suddenly appeared. She loves her husband and never reproached him for not being able to feed his loved ones. Simple and rough.
Ton Ik is influential and self-confident. A good family man, caring dad, indulges the whims of the second half.
Young Gyo is infantile, sincere, kind and generous. Spoiled the youngest child, goes on about his desires.
Da Hye is a modest, insecure young lady. She was not afraid to confess her sympathy for the tutor. The fragile girl was able to drag her wounded lover on her.
Da Song is a fidget and a naughty. A smart child was able to solve the Morse code.
Moon Gwang is an excellent housekeeper, kept the house clean, cooked well. Protected the faithful, took care of him. Resentful, wanted to enjoy her superiority by blackmailing the footage.
Oh Geun Sae is a voluntary prisoner. He preferred a miserable existence in a stone “bag”, hiding from the collectors. The death of his wife deprived him of his mind, he was ready to cripple anyone who fell under his arm.
Pong Joon Hov’s work was awarded the Palme d’Or and Oscars. The amazing tape combines several genres without smooth transitions: a funny comedy transforms into an action-packed thriller that flows into a shocking horror. The acting is incomparable – the “hungry people” seem to be decent people, improvements can be traced not only in their external appearance, they are transformed internally. Only the smell remains unchanged, the persistent stench of the basement, poverty, despair and hopelessness. The filmmakers showed how people live according to a plan that does not exist.
Cinema is replete with symbols – a stone of well-being that goes to the bottom and becomes an instrument of retribution. Tragic turns are accompanied by heavy rain, and the flooding of the basement and gushing sewage are associated with the deplorable state of affairs of the family. Organic musical accompaniment enhances the emotional component. The juicy picture reflects the contrast between the two “universes”, idleness and the struggle for survival.
The shortcomings of the picture of criticism include the illogical behavior of the characters, the lack of secret messages, direct morality. The degree of cynicism is off scale, and the number of “inner demons” in the characters is shocking.