Bong Joon-ho’s OKJA has finally hit Netflix putting the streaming giants to the top the board for original content
As a huge fan of South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, it’s no surprise that I have been following OKJA since pre-production. He’s one of my favourite directors and with movies like Memories Of Murder, The Host and Snowpiercer under his belt it’s easy to see why this film was so important to me.
There are pros and cons about going with Netflix; a pro being, Joon-ho was allowed total creative freedom to make the film he wanted to make; a con being, that we have such a masterful piece of cinema here, but it is highly unlikely that we will get to see any sort of theatrical release (except in a few select cinemas). OKJA is a film I think should be shown in theatres across the world. Also, as you all know, I sell movies for a living and OKJA is film that I’d love to hook people up with but I doubt I’ll get to do that.
Up until I finally caught the movie, I thought that OKJA was a family-friendly film, suitable for all. While the film is a feel good film and an amazing story about the bond and friendship between a young girl and animal….it will still break you. You know from the trailer that you’ll probably end up sniffling, the film is designed to smack you right in feels. I was 5-minutes into the movie when my Mrs got off the couch and said: “this is going to be too sad, I am out of here”. She was right, but as a 35-year-old man, a hardened horror lover and gorehound, I thought I could get through the film without letting a single tear roll down my face….that did not happen, I tried…but there was no stopping the waterworks and if the same doesn’t happen to you, then quite frankly….you’re made of stone.
The story of a mad corporation called Mirando (run by a crazy, psychopathic, Tilda Swinton).
Mirando is trying to create good publicity after their name was dragged through the mud by the company co-owner (also played by another crazy Tilda Swinton). They have genetically engineered and created ‘super pigs’ in a lab. These adorable creatures look like a cross between a hippotamus, and, most adorable furless giant dog you’ve never seen.
These ‘super pigs’ were bred in captivity but sent to various locations across the world and allowed to live in a natural environment until the company came to collect. One of these super pigs was sent to South Korea to be raised by a farmer and his granddaughter deep in the rural mountains. Over the years, the granddaughter, Mija formed a huge bond with her super pig, OKJA. Without question, she was her best friend, they spent every moment together.
What Mija doesn’t know was that her grandfather has been lying to her all of these years. Mija was led to believe that when this experiment was over, OKJA would be allowed to live out the rest of her days on the farm. The truth was, that it was a competition to see who could grow the best ‘super pig’ and guess who the winner is…yup, you’ve guessed it, OKJA.
The company has sent the new face of their company, a once popular tv personality and zoologist called Dr.Jonny Wilcox (played brilliantly by Jake Gyllenhaal). Things prove to be a little difficult when Mija won’t give up her ‘super pig’ without a fight. We follow Mija as she tries to rescue her best friend, OKJA with the help of some bumbling vegans known as the ALF (Animal Liberation Front) led by the fantastic Paul Dano (Swiss Army Man) and Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead).
Bong Joon-ho’s latest feature stars an A-list including Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton. A very special mention to young South Korean star, Ahn Seo-hyun. I first realised this young girl’s talent from a South Korean serial killer movie called MONSTER. Even though everyone played their roles to perfection, I couldn’t help but think that this young 13-year-old kid is blowing everyone out of the water.
While OKJA is most definitely controversial, Joon-ho takes us on a rollercoaster of emotions that is very rarely seen in films of today. Are you ready to get emotional over some CGI super pigs?
OKJA is available for streaming worldwide on Netflix
10/10 – Gary Gamble