Review: 'Okja' finds nuances in its wacky stew of themes

Jul 2, 2017
netflix philippines

It's a wonder how Bong Joon-Ho pitches 'Okja' to the bosses over at Netflix. It's a film that is pretty much all over the place: a wacky stew of themes involving animal abuse, world hunger, and crisis management. As to how the 'Snowpiercer' director finds a way to find nuances to all of these is another, as 'Okja' turns into, surprisingly, one of the year's best films.

netflix philippines

It follows Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn), a farm girl from South Korea who has a super-sized pet pig named Okja. The pig is a product of a genetic mutation performed a decade ago as an experiment of the Mirando Corporation, headed by Lucy Mirando, for commercial food consumption. Now, the big boss wants to take Okja back for slaughter, but young Mija doesn't want to. Thus began a dangerous chase that puts the animal rights group A.L.F. (Animal Liberation Front) into the mix, and a whole lot more. 

netflix philippines

In comparison to Bong Joon-Ho's previous films, 'Okja' falls on low-level. But that's not a bad thing really. The film is a lot of fun, and it's also get to be unsettling at times. The filmmaker has managed to concoct different emotions from his filmography, and it shows into full effect here. Starting off as a sweet and charming fable of a little girl and a pig, it rampantly switches into an exciting actioner, and eventually a thought-provoking horror film. It is essentially a pool of films packed in one, which would be a negative thing for some people. It's weird, but it's the good kind of weird.

netflix philippines

The CGI created Okja is as humane and emotionally investing as most of the characters in the movie. Jake Gyllenhaal steals every scene he's in as a zany television celebrity, while Twilda Swinton (on a dual role as the Mirando twin sisters Lucy and Nancy) fully embraces the cartoony tone of the film in a very playful performance. But the real star here is Seo-Hyun Ahn, who manages to keep a grounded and deeply affecting presence as Mija amidst the messed-up nature of the film.

netflix philippines

Premiering with boos at Cannes Film Festival this year, there's no denying that the best way to see this film would be at a large screen. It's a large-scale feature that could easily make for an exciting shared experience with a large crowd. But I have to commend Netflix for greenlighting (and putting an enormous budget) a film like this, which is a rarity for a major production house. 

netflix philippines

There's a lot to praise for 'Okja', mostly on its thematic and tonal choices. It never takes sides on its characters, as it allows for valuable points on both the corporate bosses and the animal advocates. But it has an interesting, important statement repeatedly brought up throughout the film. Eating animals, especially pig, is bad. But now the question is this: would you still eat them after watching this? 

The geek rates it 9/10!

'Okja' is now streaming on Netflix.

netflix philippines

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  1. The film shares Bong's casual ping-ponging of tones, his fascination with picking at society's many scabs, and the way his films frequently skid into violence and cruelty without warning.

  2. All of these posts were incredible perfect. It would be great if you’ll post more updates. Fotostudio


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