Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Okja is directed by Bong Joon Ho, and it stars Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, An Seo Hyun, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Steven Yeun. It's the latest original film to be made available for streaming exclusively on Netflix. It tells the story of Mija, a young girl in South Korea, and her best friend Okja. Okja, however, is what is known as a "super pig", a new species of pig that is much larger, more environmentally friendly, and can feed many more people. When an international company takes Okja from Mija, she will do everything she can to make sure her best friend doesn't become somebody's next meal.
Okja is a film that, while I didn't love it, I did find a lot of enjoyment in watching it. It definitely has some flaws, and there are a few things that could've been cleaned up a little bit, but for the most part, it was a really good movie. It tells the story that it wants to tell, and it's uncompromising in saying what it wants to say. I can't help but feel like most people are either going to love or hate this movie. There will be very few in the middle ground. Okja feels like a very niche movie. It's made for a very specific group of people, and those people will absolutely love it, though everybody else I'm not so sure.
Let's start with what I really liked about Okja. The story and messages of the film were very interesting, and they will cause most people watching the film to legitimately think about some of the decisions they're making in their life. There are a lot of different themes throughout this movie, but none of them felt forced. This film tackles big things like meat production, global industrialization, loyalty, believing in yourself, and a lot more that I'm probably forgetting. Okja is a very deep, and often times depressing film, but it's a film that handles all of its themes and messages extremely well. They never become too heavy handed.
This film didn't really have any major flaws, but there were a few things in it that annoyed me a lot when they happened. The first is something that I can kind of understand, and that was the CGI of Okja, the super pig. I'm not expecting Planet of the Apes level CGI from a low budget film like this, but there were several points in this film where it was painfully obvious that it was an animated animal walking around with this little girl.
The second thing that became annoying occasionally in this film was its humor, specifically, when it resorted to toilet humor. Toilet humor in a film like this felt really odd and out of place. I'm not a big fan of that type of humor in films in general, but admittedly, it does work in some films because it fits with the tone. Okja is not one of those films. By my count, they used that same joke three times, and each time it felt really out of place. There was some other humor in this film that worked well, but the little bit of toilet humor stood out like a sore thumb.
The performances in Okja were really good throughout the entirety of the cast. Tilda Swinton gave a stellar performance, as she does in most things she's in. The lead character of Mija was played by An Seo Hyun, and considering she's only thirteen, she gave an amazing performance. She has the potential to become a big star in the future if she plays her cards right. The performance that stands out to me the most was the one given by Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhall plays a very different character in this film than we're used to seeing. It was over-the-top and ridiculous, but I kind of loved it. Gyllenhaal was hilarious in this movie. From the second he walked on screen, I was blown away at the fact that it was Jake Gyllenhaal I was watching do these things. Also, his voice was really strange, but it worked oddly well. Gyllenhaal was walking a fine line between giving an amazing performance and giving an absolutely awful one. Personally, I think it leaned more to the amazing side because of how ridiculous it was, but I'm sure some people will definitely think he was awful.
Overall, I really liked Okja. Is it one of my favorites of the year? No, but it's a film that I don't regret watching whatsoever. It had a lot of important messages and themes that were handled very well. It never became overcomplicated, but it also didn't dumb anything down. The CGI on the super pig Okja was pretty spotty, and sometimes the film makes use of toilet humor that doesn't work. Okja featured some really strong performances, and Jake Gyllenhaal, in particular, was really interesting to watch. If you're looking for something to see on Netflix, I'd definitely recommend Okja, just be aware that it deals with some pretty heavy stuff at times.
So what did you think of Okja? What's your favorite Netflix original film? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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