Okja is without a doubt one of the most captivating films I’ve seen in a long time. It took me on an emotional journey that was both incredibly exciting and surprisingly heartbreaking. It’s the kind of film that will make you think, which is never a bad thing – especially nowadays. Much like his two most well known films, Snowpiercer and The Host, director, Bong Joon-ho delivered yet again, another exceptional, sociopolitical drama. Only this time, he uses capitalism and more importantly, the food-industry, as a punching bag. I know I may be getting ahead of myself on this one, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Okja, along with Joon-ho, found themselves nominated for a few Oscars come January.
One of the main reasons this movie was so outstanding, is the heartwarming relationship between Mija, a young girl from the mountains of South Korea and her companion, Okja, an animal with a big heart and an even bigger frame. To put things into perspective, Okja is about the size of a small dinosaur, but more resembles that of the forbidden love child of a pig and rhino. Sounds weird, right? Trust me, the connection that Mija and Okja share will have you falling in love with Okja within the first 10 minutes. Much like Caesar, from the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise, Okja is a testament to how CGI can take a movie from fantasy to reality.
It’s also worth noting the role Joon-ho’s casting played in the success of this film. The movie stars the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Lily Collins and the brilliant, Tilda Swinton. Additionally, if you’re a nerd like me, you’ll be pleased to know that former Walking Dead star, Steven Yeun and Devon Bostick, from The 100, are also part of this outstanding cast.
Now, I will acknowledge how happy I am that this is a Netflix original, but there is a small part of me that wishes it had come to the big screen first. I know that may sound odd, but once you experience it you’ll realize what I’m talking about. When a movie is as colorful and beautifully shot as Okja is, watching on my 38 inch TV (I know, first world problems), just doesn’t cut it. That being said, having the ability to watch this in your sweats with some microwavable popcorn and a warm blanket sounds delightful as well.
Given the fact that I just watched Baby Driver for the first time a few weeks ago, I thought it would be a while before another movie had me at a loss for words but to my surprise, Okja did just that. It was incredibly well written, had a tremendous score and the casting was flawless. Okja is the type of movie that will expose Bong Joon-ho for what he truly is – one of today’s greatest directors. I’m telling you, Okja is one of the most memorable movies you will watch this year. He may have been a relatively unknown director before this, but he won’t be much longer. Watch out Hollywood, Joon-ho is coming!
While some may not agree with the message, it’s hard not to love this movie. Yes, it will leave you a little shook - but don’t we all need that from time-to-time? Okja isn’t just another Netflix original, it’s absolutely brilliant - a movie destined for an Oscar nomination.