Okja is the newest Netflix original film and stars Seo-Hyundai Ahn, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, and Paul Dano. Mija (Ahn) lives in the South Korean countryside with her grandfather and her best friend, a super pig named Okja. After the Mirando Corporation kidnaps Okja, Mija goes on a journey to save her friend and expose the secrets the Mirando Corporation is hiding.
The story in this film is compelling right from the beginning and tells a relevant, real world tale that I won’t spoil here. The film starts out fun and light-hearted, but as it progresses it shifts into darker territory; by the end you are left with a bittersweet feeling. The film does get pretty disturbing and is hard to watch at certain moment. However, it is necessary in order to convey the message that the director (Joon-ho Bong) intends to tell, and it is never excessive to the point of being a turn off. The acting is superb across the board and Gyllenhaal steals the movie as the eccentric Dr. Johnny Wilcox. The special effects on Okja look so convincing that you will believe this super pig could exist in the real world, and you will care for this gentle giant. The movie is shot beautifully; from the bright environmental scenes to the darker depressing scenes, everything looks beautiful.
The one negative I do have about this movie is that it has a clear agenda and at times it can be a bit pushy with it. There is clearly one side to the argument that Bong is trying to convey; while there are complexities and extremes to both sides, Bong clearly favours one side over the other. There are also a few instances of poop and fart jokes that felt unnecessary. While I’m always up for a good poop gag, these felt out of place in this already quirky movie.
Despite those minor flaws, this movie is still a good watch. It has a compelling story, interesting characters, and deals with some deep subject matter that will make you think. This one is not for the faint of heart, but if you feel up to it consider adding this one to your queue.
What did you think? Did you enjoy this movie? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Written by: William Sherick