BY KIMBERLY ROSE
If you’re an avid Netflix-binger, you’ve probably heard of Okja and the hype surrounding a movie about a super pig. While “Okja” doesn’t exactly reveal much – it’s assured that the brilliant film couldn’t have come at a better time.
Available on the popular streaming service, the film revolves around a young farm girl Mija, played by 13-year-old actress An Seo Hyun, who lives in the mountains of South Korea with her grandfather. When a multinational agrochemical corporation comes up with the idea of a genetically modified “super pig” to solve a global food crisis, one of the beloved animals belonging to the species, Okja, is put in the family’s care for ten years as part of a contest. The friendship between Mija and Okja is as strong as can be, but their happiness doesn’t last when Mija must undergo the struggles to save her best friend.
Director Bong Joon Ho is known for his undertones of social commentary in films, and that doesn’t end here in Okja. While not intending to make a statement against eating animals, the film does make you question the mass-producing meat industry that is so often kept behind closed doors. You grow to love and adore the gentle giant Okja, but you also go on to see the horrors that billions of animals face as their fate today. Whether a super pig, a cow, a normal pig, a chicken – it is all the same brutal reality.
Despite the uncomfortable moments that make this film so vital, it’s a must-see for all. With the fantastic cast of Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano and Lily Collins, you won’t be disappointed. The villainous CEO Lucy Mirando (played by Swinton) and eccentric “animal lover” Johnny Wilcox (played by Gyllenhaal) are the roots of the problem, claiming their super pig was found on a Chilean farm and naturally reproduced, when that is far from the truth – all in attempt to gain popularity from the public. In the words of Swinton’s character, “Our super pigs will not only be big and beautiful; they will also leave a minimal footprint on the environment, consume less feed, and produce less excretions; a most importantly – they need to taste f***ing good.” The point of lessening the environmental impact of the meat industry is valid, but that’s where plant-based diets come into play, rather than making money off of animals seen as products and not living beings.
With the help of the Animal Liberation Front, Mija fights for justice for her cherished Okja and the film raises questions such as: If we’re disgusted by the idea of eating this CGI creature, what makes eating actual animals okay?
A film that engages thought regarding the ethics of the world while telling a heartfelt story – Okja is one of the best.