Writer: Joon-ho Bong (Screenplay)
Starring: Seo-Hyun Ahn, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins
Plot: Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Brilliant Adventure
Story: Okja starts in the year 2007 as Lucy Mirando (Swinton) and her company have created super pigs to help halt the starvation problem the world is facing, these pigs will be raised in different countries around the world too.
10 years later Mija (Ahn) lives with her creature Okja as they live a peaceful life in the countryside. Here we see how the two help each other out through the challenges of a small farming life. The peacefully life is about to change when zoologist Johnny Wilcox (Gyllenhaal) arrives declaring Okja the winner of the super pig contest, wanting to take her back to New York.
Mija leaves home in search of Okja after learning the truth about what the super pigs are being bred for. Mija locates Okja in Seoul where activists ALF led by Jay (Dano) help release her to cause chaos in Seoul. Mija finds herself going on a world adventure with Okja becoming the face of Mirando while ALF continue to look to expose Mirando for what they really are.
Thoughts on Okja
Characters/Performance – Mija has lived with Okja for the ten years but once Okja is taken to America she sets out on a mission to find her life long friend in an adventure that takes her around the world. This is a brilliantly created vision of innocence, determination and exploitered young girl. Lucy Mirando is the owner of the company that created Okja, this is a PR stunt to help improve the image of the genetic experiments going on within the company. She is a brilliant business mind that is just waiting for her company to come good again. Johnny Wilcox is the expert and face of Mirando who has been working on the project for ten years, but slowly going insane with questionable morals and drinking problems. Jay is the leader of the latest ALF project, his team has been working to release the Super Pigs and expose the Mirando cooperation.
Performance wise, Seo-Hyun Ahn is the latest star to come out of South Korea giving us a brilliant performance in the leading role. Tilda Swinton once again show just how talented to she is even in dual roles. Paul Dano continues to know how to make his character stand out in any film too. It is Jake Gyllenhaal that steals nearly every single scene here with his completely over the top delivery that will have you in stitches everything single scene.
Story – The story shows us how evil cooperation are willing to create animals just for consumer reasons, we see how the friendship can create an adventure that goes across the globe but this isn’t just a PG adventure this is an adult one. There are plenty of warnings in the story too, mostly around the idea of how to treat animals and not take things for granted. We do have moments of laughter and tears too so be prepared on all accounts.
Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi – The action side of the film is mostly about the chases to get the freedom that Mija and Okja desire so much with the adventure being the two leaving a small farm and travelling the world. The sci-fi side of everything shows us the warning about the potential food crisis in the future.
Settings – The settings are used wonderfully as we see the beauty of the home farm and the big city where Mija is lost searching for her friend.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the films that is part warning, part friendship and part social commentary as we learn the problems the world will face and how they are thinking of solving them.
Overall: One of the must watches of 2017