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Okja (2017)

by EHL Movie Reviews

Run Time: 2 hour 0 min
Release Date: June 28 2017
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Seo-hyun Ahn

Plot Summary

A young girl risks everything to prevent a powerful, multinational company from kidnapping her best friend – a fascinating beast named Okja.

Bong Joon-Ho is fresh on the mind at this current moment, with the outstanding results at this year’s Oscars, it is no surprise that some of his other work is now getting noticed. Okja is the movie that came before Parasite, Bong’s ideas clearly aren’t conventional, here he brings another interesting idea to the screen.

Following Mija’s relentless journey to help rescue her best friend Okja, who just so happens to be a marvellous beast, from a multinational company that has other ideas of what to do with the beast in question.

One thing this man manages to do brilliantly is to incorporate social commentary into his movies. I’ve seen many reviews that speak of this as a family flick, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. At first, it may seem this way but the direction it takes is thought-provoking and certainly at times, becomes very disturbing, throwing the underlying message of this movie right in your face. However suspenseful, the harsh reality of the ending really brings these themes to light.

Something we now expect from this director is an all-round solid movie, once again he succeeds. The pacing is perfect, it never feels like it is trying too hard to keep you engaged, the 2 hour run time absolutely flies by. Throughout there is a transition between English and Korean, sometimes you find that this makes the movie messy but at no point did it feel this way seamlessly jumping from one language to another.

Across the board the acting was superb, Jake Gyllenhaal delivers an over the top wildlife enthusiast, Paul Dano an animal activist but the standout really was Seo-hyun Ahn as Mija. The connection she creates with this CGI creature is outstanding, and probably one of the best child performances seen in recent times. Okja does have some silly moments at times, but they come back down to earth and actually add to the beast character, which then the connection is able to build further.

How this wasn’t given a bigger release is beyond me, Okja deserves it’s time on the big screen and would benefit from it, but Netflix will do for now. Such an interesting concept for a movie, not only is this entertaining but the message of this movie really does stand out and speak volumes.