Bong Joon Ho's direction pulls everything together and ensure the film is streamlined effectively, keeping Okja under control even as the film experiments and considers so much. After a bold and vibrant introduction, his vision remains as consistently powerful throughout, impressing as much visually as it does in most other aspects. Okja's CGI team deserves play a massive hand in the film's success, animating (and curating) the superpig terrifically; it is clear that the budget is not as expansive as we are used to seeing on a bigger screen in the middle of summer, but they do more than enough - and work with what they have - to have us fall in love with Okja from the vert first moment to the last. There is a kindness and love in her eyes that humanises what is essentially a CGI pig before our very own eyes. It's capable, satisfying and admirable work. With great work from cinematographer Darius Khondji and Jaeil Jung's diverse score, Okja comes together terrifically and helps cement the film as one of the year's best.
I'd love to claim Okja is without flaws but that is not the case. It can be frustratingly uneven and a little messy, with some plot developments are clear as day and subtlety not even enter its vocabulary - but that rarely takes away from the overall power of Bong Joon Ho's latest feature-length. A magical experience as entertaining as it is informative, you cannot help but be profoundly impacted by the lessons and messages contained in this heartfelt film. It features a powerful vision, unwavering commitment to its original story - one recognisable and deeply-rooted in our society's lifestyles and approach to meat and animal products we consume - providing a sharp, emotional, textured, cover and biting experience that deserves to be held in great esteem. Netflix have tackled and awarded an unconventional story with a platform to play its story out on, where many other studios would have likely turned it down or limited the scope it could tell the story with. If they carry on this way, Netflix could very likely be playing in the big leagues with their film content, as well as their television slate.
Summary: Complete with a unique vision, beautiful direction and an eclectic set of performances, Okja is a magical film that simultaneously balances the laughs with the tears, the entertainment with the deeper meaning and suggests Netflix may finally have a firm grasp on their original films.