Saturday, July 15, 2017

[Review] Okja

Director Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer) partners up with Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment for Okja--a weird, sublime, and ambitious eco-parable that can be seen exclusively on Netflix.

Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun) lives in the mountains of South Korea with her pet "superpig" named Okja--a snuggly mix between a pig and a hippo. It's not the most convincing CGI job, but you just have to roll with it. Anyway, when Okja is taken by the controversial Mirando Corporation (led by a wicked and teethy Tilda Swinton), Mija must go desperate lengths to get her beloved companion back.

Like the superpig at the center of this tale, the film itself is also a peculiar hybrid, flinging a delirious mix of oddball tones and eclectic genres at us. It's a whimsical and poignant coming-of-age tale of girl and creature, a dystopian thriller of worldly proportions, an absurdist humor piece of consumer culture, a cartoonish satire of corporate corruption, and an in-your-face exploit of animal cruelty. And somehow, it still has room for Jake Gyllenhaal's wackiest character to date.

This is a film that refuses to settle for one route. In fact, it just proliferates in all directions at once. And as jarring and jumbled as it is, it somehow works and coheres the more the story progresses and unfolds. Bong Joon-ho stages the provocative vision as a frenzied circus that's ready to combust at any moment. And while we've seen all these elements separately before, we've never seen them together quite like this. So Okja definitely gets points for being super unique.

( 8/10 )

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