Don Reviews "Okja"
I am an animal lover. Not to the extreme of PETA but I hate when animals are treated badly. I understand there has to be a balance of feeding humans and treating animals with respect, but I also think there are people on both extremes who hurt their causes more than help them. I understand animals have to be raised for food in a big production setting, but when the conditions are inhumane, that is where I draw the line.
“Okja” is the new film directed by Joon-Ho Bong (Snowpiercer, Mother). Starring Seo-Hyun Ahn (The Housemaid, Dream High), Paul Dano (Looper, Prisoners), Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange, Adaptation), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Southpaw), Giancarlo Esposito (The Jungle Book, The Usual Suspects), and Jungeun Lee in his film debut, it is the story of a corporation with a lot of bad press who comes up with the idea of a super pig that has less environmental impact and can help with the food problem. They send twenty-six test pigs sent to be raised in different locations around the world for ten years with one sent to Korea and raised in the mountains by Mija (Ahn). When the corporation, ran by Lucy (Swinton) decides to pick the pig for a festival hosted by TV personality Johnny Wilcox (Gyllenhaal), Okja taken away to New York to be presented to the world. What follows is a film about the love of Okja by Mija and the questions of animal rights vs. feeding humanity.
I really liked the contrasts between nature and the big city, with some beautiful scenes in the mountains where Okja is raised in Korea as well as in New York City. The GGI was really good for the Okja and the other Super Pigs to the point where even though I knew it was CGI but I forgot it was. When it comes to the acting, Ahn does well as the lead, I was impressed with Dano as the head of an animal rights organization, and Gyllenhall surprised me in this film as I did not even recognize him in the film until the credits. I also have to give it to Okja as a character because even though it is CGI I really felt for this animal.
I like this film overall; it flows well and does not drag for being about two hours long. However, the trailer for it is very misleading as there are some dark themes here that you should be warned about. All I will say is that it gets really into the animal rights issue and it pulls no punches with some violent and real disturbing scenes. When I watched the trailer, I saw it more as a happy-go-lucky style of film with maybe a little bit of adversity, but this is REALLY not the case! Overall I did like this film, but was surprised on the depth, so even though this is going straight to Netflix and for the sake of the scale we rate things on, I will recommend this film as a matinee showing in the theaters.