Babe: Pig In The City
I never expected an easy ride with Okja, after all I’d seen Joon-Ho Bong’s other works. He doesn’t make happy movies, but what was waiting for me in Okja was a far more harrowing tale than I could ever imagine. Here’s a simple taste for if you should watch Okja, do you eat meat? Do you want to keep eating meat? Do you have a weak stomach? If you answer to any of these “yes” than Okja is not the film for you. It doesn’t so much as pull back the curtain on the meat industry as rip it down and force us to digest if while still being soaked in the very blood of the livestock slaughter behind it. Needless to say Okja is a tough watch.
The hard part is that I’m challenged to not recommend Okja. In truth it is a masterpiece, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. It only means I have to recognise what an important film it is. Okja is important for a number of reasons not least because it’s controversial, and not just for the obvious ones. The concept of morality is an idea that runs strong in Okja, from the washed up animal lover to the nonviolent animal rights protesters, everyone is held up for judgment in Okja, as if each character is standing trial in their own personal hell during the movie.
Okja, itself (As in the super pig) is incredible to watch, the mix of animatronics and CGI is seamless and there are sequences I truly did believe that pig was real. Consider that, this film made me believe a giant pig was real. It also made me care for said pig. Which is a true achievement, I like bacon. Bacon is good for me, but even I had to reconsider after watching the horrific acts Okja had to endure. Okja is a film that buries itself deep into your mind, it burns away behind your eyeballs, you will be thinking about Okja for days after you have seen it. This is Joon-Ho Bong’s talent; he knows the right places to push us. Okja is deranged, powerful and harrowing.
It could be easily said that Joon-Ho Bong is one of the world’s strongest directors, mixing allegorical tales with surreal plots and horrendous deeds, but the proof is in the casting Tilda Swinton, Giancarlo Esposito, Jake Gyllenhall, Paul Dano and Lilly Collins. None of these are small time players; the most griping of these is Jake Gyllenhall whom is almost unrecognisable. Gyllenhall looks like he is having a nervous breakdown on screen.
A word of warning for you, if indeed you have made it this far into the review. Joon-Ho Bong doesn’t care about you he cares about the greater good. To this end a vast amount of Okja is subtitled. It forces us to engage with our minds if we want to or not.
Okja is the only film this year that you’ll regret if you miss it and you’ll be sickened if you do watch it. Another modern masterpiece from Joon-Ho Bong.