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Stars: Choi Woo Shik, Park So Dam, Kang-Ho Song, Lee Jong Eun, Lee Sun Kyun

Director: Bong Joon-Ho

This year's Cannes Palme d'Or winner is certainly an original, even if it's also, as with so many of this year's movies, fatally overlong.

The main section of the story veers between creepy, funny and faintly unpleasant, while the last 20 minutes are comedy of an even darker (and somewhat mysterious) hue.

It's South Korea, and the Kims are a smelly, destitute, jobless family living in a hovel little better than a tent.

But salvation beckons. The son has a friend who is tutoring English to the teenage daughter of the filthy-rich Parks. And now the friend must go abroad, leaving Kim Jr to take over - and fall for the girl. Mrs Park also needs a tutor for her hyper-active young son, and so the Kim daughter is installed there.

She in turn has the idea of discrediting the Park chauffeur by depositing her panties in the family car, so paving the way for 'Mr Kim' to move in as the Parks' new driver.

Boon-Yang, the Parks' trusted housekeeper and general factotum, is a bigger problem, but her allergy to peaches proves the key to her removal, allowing Mrs Kim to move in. The Kims are soon like pigs in, well, clover.

Alas, the housekeeper's long-kept dark secret, plus the Parks' early arrival back from a trip, combine to bring matters to a violent conclusion, which may disappoint some audiences. Playfully well made, the film takes some getting into, until its various plot devices kick in. The entire Kim family, though, is delightfully devious, at least until that off-the-rails finale.

David Quinlan

South Korea 2019. UK Distributor: Curzon Artificial Eye. Colour (unspecified).
132 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 01 Feb 2020