By: A. Nogueira
Release date: June 28th 2017
Running time: 120 minutes
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Language: English, Korean
Main cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Lily Collins, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Seo-Hyeon Ahn, Steven Yeun
Budget: 50 million USD
Box office: 2.15 million USD
Rotten tomatoes rating: 85%
Personal Rating: 9/10
Google film synopsis: For 10 idyllic years, young Mija 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 a South Korean and American movie, both countries having incredible cinematic works. Although South Korean works are less well known, directors such as Park Chan-wok have achieved a variety of international awards and Netflix’s Okja is likely to add to the collection, with 10 international award nominations and 6 wins.
The movie has an effectively complex mix of genres. While it may be considered an environmentalist adventure combined with science fiction, horror, drama and action, it has a constant humoristic style that prevents it from being too unsettling for certain audiences. Instead, it raises awareness of global issues within the meat industry (although set in a fictional world) and is always enjoyable.
Its cast instantly impresses, with 4 actors being incredibly famous but many others being well known for their works. Seo-Hyeon Ahn gives an incredible performance and although young, she has appeared in a variety of films and TV series from South Korea. The director, similarly, has a variety of acclaimed works such as Snowpiercer (2013) and The Host (2006). Visual effects supervisor Erik-Jan de Boer has previously won an Oscar for his work on Life of Pi and now delivered the incredibly realistic giant pig that is Okja. Cinematography features astounding natural landscapes, combined with sound for a realistic and immersive composition.
Although the ending doesn’t disappoint, it does not proceed with the initial quality of the film, but it hardly could. Okja is one of this year’s highlights, with a plot that offers a differentiated perspective of the meat industry yet still incorporating sci-fi elements.