Young Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun) lives in the South Korean countryside with her grandfather and Okja, a huge super pig… but soon the corporation that created this genetic marvel is coming for it. As in the director’s other films, a wild sense of imagination and wonderful visual ideas dominate in a story that really takes us on a ride. Among the odd, cartoonish characters, Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal stand out, contributing to the film’s uneven tone – we’re meant to be amused, charmed, thrilled and horrified. Works best as an adventure (the chases are engaging) and animal-rights propaganda, with the super pig itself an impressively lovable CGI creation.
2017-South Korea-U.S. 118 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Bong Joon-ho, Choi Dooho, Dede Gardner, Kim Lewis Taewan, Jeremy Kleiner, Ted Sarandos, Seo Woo-sik. Directed by Bong Joon-ho. Screenplay: Bong Joon-ho, Jon Ronson. Cinematography: Darius Khondji. Cast: Ahn Seo-hyun (Mija), Tilda Swinton (Lucy Mirando/Nancy Mirando), Paul Dano (Jay), Jake Gyllenhaal, Byun Hee-bong, Steven Yeun… Lily Collins, Giancarlo Esposito.
Trivia: First shown at Cannes, then released on Netflix.
Last word: “In ‘The Host’, the monster is a complete fantasy. It’s fictional, it’s science fiction. However, although the super-pig phenomenon may be fiction at the moment, it’s very close to being a reality. In Canada, they already made some kind of GM salmon. It’s already gotten FDA approval. They are starting to very carefully distribute it in the market. In the process of researching the film, I met and interviewed a PhD student who is developing a GM pig. So, ‘Okja’ is real. It’s actually happening. That’s why I rushed making ‘Okja’, because the real product is coming.” (Bong, The Independent)