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Review – Okja

Okja Poster

Okja Poster

South Korean auteur Bong Joon Ho lets his propaganda flag fly in Okja – the 500 times more intense, science fiction version of Babe you probably don’t want to let your kids watch.

Part girl and her pet movie, part anti meat industry documentary, and part satirical societal critique, Okja takes those elements, throws them against the elastic wall that is director Joon ho and lets them bounce off in all sorts of directions.  The Snowpiercer director has a very unique way of viewing the world and that is ever so evident here.

After raising a uniquely intelligent “super pig” for a decade, a young Korean girl has her companion ripped from her life by the agri-giant, Monsanto Mirando Corporation. Blindly chasing after the rescue of Okja, Mija crosses paths with the unintentionally hilarious Animal Liberation Front and exposes secret corporate atrocities. Touchingly emotional, exceedingly entertaining, completely intriguing, and wildly inventive, Okja is both original and right on point.

Not subtle in the least with its anti animal cruelty message, Okja is nonetheless much more than just a propaganda film. It’s a really good film in its own right. A chameleonic Tilda Swinton and nearly unrecognizable Jake Gyllenhaal headline the American cast as two wild characters that will leave quite the impression. Young Seo-Hyun Ahn carries the amazingly heavy film on her shoulders with ease. Completely natural in the role of Mija, she is easy to root for and we can absolutely believe she may succeed in the face of the impossible. The supporting cast is littered with talent both well known and otherwise that fit into this wild puzzle of a film perfectly.

While the digital Okja is not quite up to Andy Serkis levels of perfection, she still oozes emotion and is never so fake looking that the giant unearthly beast romping around this film takes us out of reality. Though the message is a bit heavy handed and relies on an exaggerated scenario, it still makes an impact that will undoubtedly impact quite a few people in the real world, perhaps inspiring a few new vegans – or evil GMO capitalists. Coming at the subject matter from a distinctly non-western point of view lends a distinct flavor to the tale, not dissimilar to what you might see in a Japanese anime, such as a Miyazaki masterpiece. This will easily be counted as a similar work of film art in the years to come.

Mrs. Hamster says:

“I’m still eating pork.”

Brother Hamster has not screened this film

My rating: Four out of five hats



Okja is currently streaming exclusively on Netflix

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