June 28, 2017 at 10:46 am #1202135621
Directed by Bong Joon-Ho, starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Giancarlo Esposito, Paul Dano, Lily Collins and Seo-Hyun Ahn.
Available to stream now on Netflix.June 28, 2017 at 10:58 am #1202135634
Very good piece of work. The film is strongest in the first hour, where Okja and Mija are at home, interacting with one another. Bong Joon-Ho beautifully directs those scenes, and the cinematography looks stunning in hand with the subtle visual effects (largely of Okja herself).
The second half is by no means weak, but it doesn’t sing like that first hour. What I will say, though, is that Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton are absolutely fantastic in their roles. In recent years, I’ve never seen an actor visibly have as much fun in a role as I see Gyllenhaal has with this. He is an absolute riot. Completely against type, as manic as he is in Nightcrawler, but then some. It’s done in an externally playful, but internally painful way. Genius performance from him.
Swinton excels as Lucy, again getting to the centre of why she is going on with her master plan, in an understandable (though still rather barbaric) way. On paper, both roles could be very hammy and overplayed, yet Jake and Tilda’s raw talent and ability to truly identify their characters makes them a sheer joy.
The rest of the cast are also good. Ahn gives a good Breakthrough performance, and it will be interesting to see where she goes from here. She generally does get overshadowed by Okja, but their relationship is allowed a great amount of room to breathe enough in that first hour that we do care about what happens in the second half.
The score is a bit haphazard, but it fits with the whole tone of the film. It is a touch uneven in places, it does jump from the natural, joyful beginning, to the more troublesome alternative ‘war fare’, and dips in and out of the Wild a whacky. Credit to Bong Joon-Ho for orchestrating those polar opposite worlds, and making it work.June 28, 2017 at 4:31 pm #1202135908
Great movie, flawed, but powerful and emotional. The ending felt very anti climatic to me. Like really you have this whole plan and shit and you save The with a price of gold.
I also didn’t get why the grandpa spent all the money on the golden pig in the first place. I guess as a gift?
Tilda Swinton was great and would be a great winner for this.
I have know idea what I thought about Gyllanhal. He was so hammy but I don’t know if it’s bad yet. I need to rewatch.
This’ll probably get a few Oscar nominations. Visual effects were great and it could win. Hopefully Tilda can get nominated.
The girl was really good to but not awards worthy.July 3, 2017 at 8:34 pm #1202141023
As a huge fan of Bong Joon-ho, Okja is easily his worst movie–his best is Memories of Murder. With that in mind, anyone whose worst film is Okja is one of the great living filmmakers.
Okja is shaggy, uneven, and scattered, but the strong performances, stunning set pieces, and deeply poignant arc that carries the story all work. Jake Gyllenhaal doesn’t quite work for me, and the fact that his character is at the center of the film’s most chilling moment is really rough.That scene should work much better than it does, but his performance is so distracting that I can’t get into it.
Otherwise, there are some really knockout moments–that cliffhanger at the beginning, Mija fighting with her grandpa about going to get Okja, the chase sequence, the parade, and that haunting ending. Okja is only superficially about meat consumption. It’s mostly about how little we can do against the system that oppresses us. In that way, it’s sort of a spiritual or thematic prequel to Snowpiercer, whose philosophy is to burn everything down to make anything better.
The gold pig thing is a great moment, though. Her grandpa gets it for her because it’s something given to brides as a wedding tradition. Mija’s grandpa says he wants her to meet a boy and have a future, and that pig is a symbol of that. By giving up her pig, Mija is giving a future to Okja–as well as the other superpigs she saves–that she can’t have anymore. That’s the film’s ethos: We can’t just look out for ourselves as humans. We can’t be greedy or tribal. We need everyone. In that sense, Okja works, even if the path there is a little rough.