Okja review

Okja shines light on a new angle of the controversial meat industry - and it's a bright light at that.

Okja review

For all the negativity surrounding Okja at this years Cannes Film Festival, director Joon-ho Bong's prophetic tale boldly delivers a message of money, meat and murder, illustrated fantastically through the eyes of a child.

Set in a parallel reality to our own, Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton), assisting CEO of the Mirando Corporation, launches the answer to the world's unsustainable demand for meat; superpigs. A genetically modified breed of mammal, production designer Ha-jun Lee's adorable creation is a work of art, but with one catch. Much to Mirando's glee; superpigs are entirely edible. The debate is now in session.

Joon-ho Bong settles on a tone of childish adventure through the eyes of innocent Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn), who has raised Okja, our titular superpig. Mija's purity importantly emphasises the moments of true darkness that underscore the film, expected from such a fierce subject matter. This contrast in tone creates a stirring comment on the issue of animal rights.

And of course, what would an adventure story be without a band of comical misfits? Aiming to dismantle the power of a corporate villain who wish to take Okja for themselves, the Animal Liberation Front is led by Jay (Paul Dano), their serious yet pretentious head of the mission to protect Okja. Dano's superbly subtle and comedic performance provides a self aware take on the world of veganism, which tells audience members that the outcome of this story may not be all that simple.

Alongside the amusing exploits of the ALF, Jake Gyllenhaal's washed up celebrity scientist is far from a total wipe out. Staggering from energetic children's presenter to unhinged alcoholic, Gyllenhaal artfully interprets the script far beyond the stereotypical forgotten media personality that has been handed to him. Here, Gyllenhaal continually proves his range as an actor, providing well executed tension as he staggers into Okja's world, threatening her chances of survival.

So whether this film motivates you to contemplate veganism or not, it is undeniable that Okja offers a startling mirror to our meat industry and terrifyingly warns of the challenges humanity will face as our population grows. Joon-ho Bong serves up a delectable dish of thought, adventure and foreboding - leaving an ominous aftertaste that is mighty, flipping good.


Maddie Drury

Maddie Drury Contributor

Maddie is currently studying History and Journalism at Goldsmiths University. Like a 40-year-old man takes to running, Maddie has recently become obsessed with learning Spanish.

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  • Luke Taylor

    On 2 August 2017, 10:15 Luke Taylor Contributor commented:

    This looks like a brilliant film!

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