Okja is probably Netflix’s biggest movie to date – premiering at Cannes earlier this year and a budget of $50 million. It’s also probably it’s best movie to date! Although, I am yet to watch the majority of the Original movies.
It tells the story of Mija and her best friend Okja; who just so happens to be a super pig. Okja was given to Mija’s grandfather by Mirando to raise with the challenge of making Okja the biggest and healthiest super pig (so they can eventually eat her). Mija and Okja become best of friends and build an unbreakable bond – but when the competition comes to a close, Mirando come back for Okja much to Mija’s dismay. What follows is one girls journey to bring her best friend back home – add in a mix of animal rights activism, a lot of heart and some lump in your throat moments.
This movie is directed by Bong Joon-Ho who has become somewhat of a cult film maker based on the overwhelming success of his first English language movie Snowpiercer (which I unfortunately haven’t seen – definitely next on the list). Bong is an incredible director, he blends CGI and live action seamlessly and this movie has a big old heart with some dark humour to match. I think the director is a big up and comer, although he’s been making movies in South Korea for years he’s finally breaking into the western world – he has the ability to become the next Wes Anderson with his auteur style, ingenious directing and cooky characters.
The cast of this movies proves just how big streaming services are getting – Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun and Lily Collins all star in Okja – with Ahn Seo-hyun making her English language debut as the star Mija! This little girl is someone to watch out for, she shows a massive range of emotion – from utter glee one moment to sombre heartbreak the next. Other than Ahn, Gyllenhaal and Yeun were my personal favourites.
Gyllenhaal gets to go all out animated, being the most outlandish I think we’ve ever seen him as the eccentric Zoologist Dr. Johnny Wilcox *mild spoiler alert* he actually gets to do an evil side which I feel I haven’t seen in a while. Steven Yeun who I’ve been a massive fan of since the first episode of The Walking Dead isn’t in this movie nearly enough however, he does a great job with comedy and I am so excited to see him do more. Tilda Swinton is as much of a chameleon as ever and she plays black comedy in a way I haven’t seen her play it before.
ALSO – the world doesn’t appreicate Paul Dano nearly enough, he nails it as the leader of the ALF a underground group of animal activists who’s mission is to save Okja from Mirando’s big plan.
I really really enjoyed the first hour and a half of this movie. I thought the story was engaging had a strong social message but it still had a light hearted and fun feel to it. The last half an hour however loses this light heartedness and takes some very dark turns; don’t get me wrong I understand why they wanted to do this and I thought it was executed very well. I personally thought it just became a little too close to being an advertisement for vegetarianism and it sort of took me out of the movie.*
Other than that, I have no real complains about this movie! It was incredibly original, smart and funny and left you all gooey on the inside (with a side of tears). Stream this movie now, you won’t want to miss this and at the moment it’s probably somewhat of an oscar contender.
*sidenote – 100% a lot of people are going to become vegetarians after this and all the best to them; I couldn’t do it.