Okja – Film Review

Rating : 4 / 5 stars

What’s it about?
Okja is an adventure film directed by Bong Joon Ho, starring An Seo Hyun, Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Steven Yeun and Paul Dano among others.
In order to revolutionize the meat industry, The Mirando Corporation creates genetically modified super pigs with plans for using them in creating the best pork products in the world. The image conscious CEO gives away twenty such pigs to be raised by different farmers across the globe as a marketing gimmick. One such super pig is Okja, who grows up alongside Mija, the granddaughter of a farmer in South Korea. After ten years, the company takes Okja back to New York to be chopped up and served to the world. Devastated, Mija sets out on a mission to rescue Okja from the fate that waits for it in New York.
Does she manage to do this? What different obstacles must she cross? these are some of the questions that the film tackles.

What’s Good?
The film is basically an adventure film, which is a rarity in today’s film scene, and this works in its favor. The bond between the teenage girl and animal is setup very well and this bond is the heart and soul of the film. Because of this, the viewer is invested in the fate of Okja and Mija. All the subplots in the film are necessary and tie in well with the main plot. Humor is subtle and used sparingly but compliments the film very well. Special mention regarding the climax of the film, as it will surely tug at your heartstrings!!
Art direction is excellent and VFX is surprisingly great for a television movie.

What’s Not?
Only minor issue with the film is that almost half the film is in Korean, which means audience not familiar with the language will have to spend most of the time reading the subtitles and not watching the performances by the actors. Other than that, this is a great film!

An Seo Hyun as Mija is a revelation. She is such a natural performer that one tends to forget that she is acting off of a green screen for the majority of the film. Half the reason this film works is because of her strong emotional performance. Tilda Swinton is delightfully bonkers in this film. As the CEO of a company who has to live with the bad rap that her family gets while still trying to turn things around for her company, Tilda gives an arresting performance. Jake Gyllenhaal as a washed up celebrity animal doctor is a little over the top at times but gets downright scary in the one dramatic scene that he has. Steven Yeun and Paul Dano are good in their respective limited roles. Rest of the cast is good in their roles.

Final Word
A great adventure film with a nice animal cruelty message woven in, this is definitely a must watch for cinema lovers.

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