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Danny Reviews…OKJA (2017)

This month, Netflix released an original film called Okja.  The name alone intrigued me enough to learn more about this film and whether I should watch it, since I am a Netflix subscriber.

This little film about a BIG pig and a teenage girl living in South Korea is a film that should garner some attention once award-time comes around.  With a budget of $50 million, Netflix was able to pull in some Hollywood talent (Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Jake Gyllenhaal) to balance nicely with the lesser-known South Korean talent (Ahn Seo-hyun & Byun Hee-bong), along with an up-and-coming director, Bong Joon-ho, who directed the 2013 Sci-fi movie Snowpiercer.

The movie opens with the CEO of Mirando Corporation, played by Tilda Swinton, announcing the birth of a superpig and that her company will be taking twenty-six of the best pigs bred from this superpig to be sent out all over the world to be raised for ten years to see which pig will be crowned the winner.

Fast forward ten years and we now see Mija, played by Ahn Seo-hyun, living happliy in the countryside of South Korea with her grandfather, played by Byun Hee-bong, together raising the superpig offspring, Okja.

Soon they are visited by a spokesperson for the Mirando Corporation, the TV star zoologist, Dr. Johnny Wilcox, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.  He declares Okja the winner of the contest of Best Superbig and informs Mija and her grandfather that Okja will be flown to New York City for the big reveal.

It is at this point in the film that we go on a journey with Mija, as she tries to save Okja from the rest of the world.  There are many themes throughout this movie:

  • Evil corporation vs. Animal Liberation Front
  • Animals as family vs. Animals as food
  • Genetic modified food vs. Organic food
  • Globalization
  • Celebrity
  • Refugee Camps/Mass Killing Plant

I don’t want to give much more of the film away, because I believe this film is worth two hours of your time.  It is refreshing to see a company (Netflix) be bold and take a risk to produce a film like Okja and I hope to see many more from them in the future.

Director: Bong Joon-ho

Writers: Bong Joon-ho, Jon Ronson

Stars: Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Ahn Seo-hyun, Byun Hee-bong, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Yoon Je-moon, Shirley Henderson, Daniel Henshall, Devon Bostick, Choi Woo-shik, Giancarlo Esposito, Jake Gyllenhaal

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