Any critique of the suburbs is implicitly about class mobility. Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning “Parasite” is one of the best modern reflections on class and capitalism, and its central location is almost as dreamlike and M.C. Escher-esque an abode as the alien prison neighborhood in “Vivarium.” The film begins as a somewhat straightforward caper movie, following the struggling Kim family as they try to make ends meet. When the son lucks into a chance to pose as a college student and tutor the daughter of the wealthy Park family, his sister, mother, and father eventually scheme their way into jobs for the Park family as well, fabricating credentials and getting the old employees fired.
The Park’s house is opulent, cold, and vast — the Kim family has palpably entered the alien world of the wealthy. And a surprising twist reveals that your economic status can leave you feeling stuck in place literally as well as figuratively. There’s technically no sci-fi element to “Parasite,” but its eerily modernist surrounds and slowly simmering plot will please those who enjoyed the same elements in Lorcan Finnegan’s film. Not to mention, there’s that same sense of futility: Just like the pandemic itself, “Parasite” drives home the idea that the opposite sides of the wealth gap are entirely different planets to live on — and for some, these strata are as inescapable as the never-ending “Vivarium” neighborhood.