Geeks logo

Bong Joon-ho Triumphs Again with 'Okja'

Netflix has first original film masterpiece in the 'Snowpiecer' auteur's follow-up.

By Sean PatrickPublished 7 years ago 3 min read

Okja is a movie that defies simple description. On the surface, the film resembles a kiddie flick with a friendly monster and a little girl on an adventure to overcome a group of simple-minded adults trying to split them apart or exploit them. The surface of Okja does not do the film justice. Okja is truly one of the most daring and original films of 2017 from one of the master directors of our time, the brilliant Bong Joon-ho.

The Mirando Corporation is attempting to change its image as an evil, greedy, polluting monster to something more market friendly, even environmentally friendly. At the front of this effort is CEO Lucy Mirando who has, through means she intentionally kept from the public, engineered what she believes is a super pig that could be the cure to world hunger.

Naturally, Lucy, being the head of a global empire, is hiding an evil secret behind a charming and friendly veneer. You see, Mirando has genetically engineered a new species of pig with the aim of making bigger, more productive and especially tasty pigs. The contest I mentioned is a global marketing campaign where the supposedly "newly discovered" breed of pig is being taken to 25 places around the globe where one farmer in each country will have the opportunity to raise the most superior pig and of this group one farmer and their homeland will honored for their way of raising the biggest pig.

Cut to 10 years later in the mountains of South Korea, we find Okja, the biggest and best of the Mirando pigs. Having been befriended, loved and raised alongside Mija, star Ahn Seo Hyun, Okja has grown to massive proportions on natural, mountain grown vegetation. When Mirando’s lead scientist, a TV presenter combining the worst qualities of Steve Irwin and Bill Nye the Science Guy, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is extremely impressed and eager to get Okja back to America for the final competition. When Mija learns that she is to be separated from her oldest and dearest friend she goes on an adventure that pulls no punches when it comes to the horrors of the food industry.

To explain further what happens in Okja would do you, dear reader, a disservice. You must experience the oddity, wonder and even genuine horror of Okja for yourself. Director Bong Joon-ho has crafted a minor masterpiece in merely the way he twists genre conventions to tell a very adult story in a jarringly childlike fashion. With the help of brilliant cinematographer Darius Khondji, Seven, Amour, The Lost City of Z, Bong Joon-ho plays up bright colored heroes and villains reminiscent of kids’ movies but retains that sense of bright, bold colors when the film goes to dark emotional spaces.

Bong Joon-ho is an auteur of the highest order, a director of incredible detail and thoughtfulness. In Okja he has crafted a masterpiece of a message picture that packs a serious wallop. The beauty and technical polish of Okja is not merely an example of Boon Joon-ho’s masterful direction, it’s a purposeful polish. The film is crafted to use the bright and shiny glitz of Hollywood special effects and cinematography to go into a very dark corner of modern American industry and show us quite literally how the sausage is made.

Okja debuts on Netflix, Wednesday, June 28th.


About the Creator

Sean Patrick

Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast I am a voting member of the Critics Choice Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.