Like the past works of writer-director Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host), Okja isn’t so much an allegory as it is an outright morality tale. The Korean filmmaker seem intent on tackling each and every woe of modern society, from the danger of radioactive waste (and by extension, the short-sighted profit-seeking of big business) in The Host to the accelerating divisions between the wealthy and the poor in Snowpiercer. In Okja, Bong once again wraps his morality tale in a bit of science fiction. The titular Okja is one of several genetically-enhanced pigs, bred for slaughter in an attempt to solve the world’s hunger crisis. Where The Host was an obvious Monster Movie, and Snowpiercer more of a dystopian science fiction film, Okja is mostly a dark piece of satire. It’s just not clear who Bong means to target with his barbs.
Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho is not subtle when it comes to the themes of his films, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Snowpiercer isn’t so much an allegory for class warfare – it is class warfare, just set on the science fiction environment of an ever-moving train. The Host is the venerable monster-movie warning that our careless destruction of the planet will come back to bite us – literally in this case. And so, Okja continues in that same vein. This Netflix exclusive will compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, and then will be available for streaming on June 28th.
Check out the trailer below:
Denis Villeneuve week nears its end with his only true American film, and the largest budget he’s had to work with to date: the kidnapping mystery/thriller Prisoners. Of all of Villeneuve’s films, this may be the most uneasy, the most challenging to watch, and the one film that is truly unafraid of exploring the depths that humanity can reach at the intersection of desperation and good intention. Its subject matter is particularly challenging for parents, as it primarily deals with the disappearance of a pair of young girls.
There is a moment late in the second act of the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy where everyone is celebrating the success of the Good Vibrations single and lyricist Van Dyke Parks is tasked with describing the next project, which Brian wants to call SMiLE. Parks describes it as a mixture of various artists ranging from Phil Spektor to Beethoven (I have no chance of re-producing the exact sequence here, and can’t find it online, but it is a cool little line). Similarly, Love & Mercy can be described as a mishmash of Amadeus, A Beautiful Mind, and Shine – with elements of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and even 2001: A Space Odyssey. That is rarefied air, but entirely deserved, and the film should please both die-hard fans of The Beach Boys as well as general audiences with its unique style of musical storytelling and parallel story structure.