Cert: 15 Runtime: 118 mins Director: Bong Joon Ho Cast: Seo-Hyun Ahn, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins and Giancarlo Esposito
I took nature and science, and I synthesised
Bong Joon Ho is a filmmaker that I have admired ever since I watched his masterpiece Memories of Murder. He has created such a different element of cinema, this is purely working on actual emotions and bending genres to suit his tales of meaning. The big question why make a movie for Netflix? For me I am not that bothered, as long he has the creative freedom to create masterwork I’m happy. During Cannes Netflix received a lot of hate! My only qualm is that Okja will never be the real cinematic release it should be. Controversy aside, what is Okja about you ask? For 10 idyllic years, young Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn) has been caretaker and constant companion to Okja – a massive animal and an even bigger friend – at her home in the mountains of South Korea. But that changes when family-owned, multinational conglomerate Mirando Corporation takes Okja for themselves and transports her to New York, where an image-obsessed and self-promoting CEO has big plans for Mija’s dearest friend. With no particular plan but single-minded in intent, Mija sets out on a rescue mission.
Okja is audacious and a film of two half’s it’s not entirely happy, nor is it entirely cynical. It mixes lowbrow humour, chase scenes, social commentary, and a few elements of outright horror. It’s not entirely successful. Some side characters and subplots seem half-baked. Bong Joon Ho delivers a quirky and witty film, with a clever message about corporate capitalism (FYI Joon Ho always has a message for us).It’s not vegetarian propaganda at all (this comes from a vegetarian),I can see why people find it preachy for a film. Joon Ho is showing a portrait of industry of abuse, and how the corporation has two faces: the glowing media face and the ugly side full of greed and no mercy.Everything has a price!
The beginning, middle and end of Okja are such different parallels, it keeps the audience engaged.You begin with pure satire, then adventure and the third act is the gut punch. It’s such a bitter sweet ending, you have to watch it to get it. Seo-Hyun Ahn truly carries Okja, her pure essence gives the film such soul. Her evolution and her manipulation by the corporation is a clever way to evolve her character. Tilda Swinton gives yet another great performance for Joon Ho. Their partnership is a perfect match. Jake Gyllenhaal has caused a split between people, for me it works in Joon Ho’s film. He has two sides to him, it works for me. Paul Dano keeps developing into a great actor, he stands out in all his scenes. Joon Ho continues with his great work. As disappointing as it is I didn’t see this in the cinema, but still this is some thought provoking cinema. It has such soul and feeling, probably you have Netflix so give Okja a go. You may like Joon Ho’s stuff, watch Memories of Murder after it’s amazing!