okja (bong joon-ho, 2017)

let’s just jump right into this one; i LOVED this lil corporate satire vegan propaganda magic movie. it took me a good 20-30 mins to rly get into which did make me question whether i actually liked it or not but bar one rly fucking hideous and gut-wrenching scene in which i cried silent tears and my cousin audibly sobbed – you’ll know when you see it and then you’ll probably decide to never touch meat ever again… maybe… it was pretty wonderful. Β it starts off in korea, against this picturesque backdrop of mountains and greenery and persimmons (which look super delicious btw) where we’re introduced to mija and her pet pig okja. i’ve never rly liked pigs (idk if this is a muslamic thing bc they’re haram lol) but omggg, even tho okja is more like a weird hippo / dog to me, she was so adorable and i wish i had one of my own. (spoiler alert but there’s a scene where she cries, well multiple scenes where she’s upset and omg my heart. i wanted to jump into the screen and wipe the tears away.) so i feel like at its core, this story is more about friendship and love??? idk if i’m just being moist but this little kid literally goes half way across the world to get her pet pig back, if that’s not love / true friendship idk what is and it’s nice to see a film that portrays the companionship that pets provide.

on another level though, this film also feels like some next level social commentary… i mean, i appreciate the way it raises the issue of capitalism and consumerism and all that shit but at times i was like… oh, this is all a little bit too deep and idk whether it works – like the big thing is the meat industry. now i’m not a vegan (aΒ pescatarian if we’re being specific) and i have no issue with ppl who eat meat but the meat industry itself has always bothered me, it’s all so incredibly unethical and this whole idea of ‘super piglets’ that okja presents just cements that rly. it’s interesting the way that it approaches the whole thing; like it’s subtle for 90 mins or so – we meet the animal liberation front, we realise bad things are happening to the pigs, the meat industry is bad etc etc – but then BAM, all of a sudden shit gets real and we’re suddenly seeing poor little piglets being tested on and murdered and ughhh, no thank you but also, thank you for showing that really crappy reality?! (…iΒ have just realised that this blog isn’t even a film blog anymore it’s like 50% film + 50% welcome to the life of benazir)

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back to the actual film though, basically it does a very good job of balancing the two; tender but woke (ihms for writing that and not deleting it…) like i felt the love and importance of mija + okja’s friendship whilst also wanting to burn down every single factory that produces meat in an unethical way. one of my fav scenes was actually the car chase involving the animal liberation front. i didn’t see a car chase or chase in general coming in a film like this and was actually surprised when it did but it’s a beautiful 10 mins of the film, perhaps the best! the chase flows into a scene in a shopping mall which plays out in slo-mo to john denver’s annie’s song with rainbow umbrellas and shit flying out the back of a lorry, and ahh, it’s just lovely!

also, let me talk about the cast real quick bc i had a lot of thoughts about them. i feel like the cast of a film is v v important (duh) and sometimes films nail it, other times……. well, not so much. in okja’s case, i kinda feel like with the exception of the cute little girl that plays mija and paul dano, the film sorta kinda didn’t quite nail it which is very disappointing???

  • jake gyllenhaal – WTF??? no jake, no. i saw someone tweet that his performance was ‘stressful’ and fucking hell YES. like it’s so bloody annoying and overdone like lay off the coke, bro. perhaps it’s like marmite tho and some ppl will love it
  • tilda swinton – no, not impressed. i mean, she probs did the best she could’ve done for that specific character(s) but i expected more? perhaps i was expecting some kind of full blown outrageous character, but alas… it was boring (she was better in snowpiercer + literally every other film she’s been in)
  • paul dano – HI, YES, HELLO, WELL DONE, YOU ARE WONDERFUL IN EVERYTHING YOU DO, CONGRATS XO
  • seo hyun – a star is born !!! jk but on a level, she was rly wonderful and held the hold film together so kudos
  • lily collins – the girl ain’t got much range (from the few things i’ve seen, s/o to love, rosie gr8 film) but either way, she felt wasted
  • steven yeun – i don’t watch the walking deadΒ and honestly, that’s the only reason i know this guy but anyway, he’s very good and also a cutie x
  • everyone else idc about

on a final note, i didn’t actually know much about this film bar all the bullshit from elitist cinephiles like ‘oooh but the cinema experience’ & ‘fuck netflix’ that came out of it last year at cannes and as a result, didn’t give it much attention. i mean, i’m not too picky when it comes to films and where i see them; naturally, i’ll always opt to see them on the big screen but at the end of the day, cinema is cinema, film is film, and after watching this, i’m actually glad netflix released it. they gave bong joon-ho full creative license and good on him for taking them up on it. sure, he might have had to sacrifice this film going out on the big screen etc but i think he achieved exactly what he wanted, it’s a wonderful piece of work which will reach a much wider audience now! (side note: i find it so strange that a man of his talent even faces stupid problems like this when he’s got films like snowpiercer and mother under his belt?! smh)

PS. stay for the end credits x

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