Apart from people who mark “vegan” as their favourite movie genre, I’m not sure who this film is for. On one hand It’s dropping F-bombs willy nilly and showing pretty disturbing shots of animal abuse, on the other it’s about a 13 year old chasing around a giant genetically modified pig in a simplistic plot filled with shrieking caricatures of capitalist scum and vegan anarchists. Is this supposed to be a nuanced critique of the way society treats everything like commodities or a desperate attempt at guilting me into stopping my meat eating ways? Cause it’s definitely not the former.
The first section of the film is awesome, taking place in a Korean wilderness it takes on a live action studio Ghibli vibe. It takes its time and has a casual pacing. After the pig, Okja is ripped away from its owner, Little Korean Kid (I can’t remember her name and I can’t be bothered Googling it), the movie takes off at a gallop.
Unfortunately, this fun pacing which feels so refreshing and engaging at first is quickly halted by Paul Dano who proceeds to muddy the story down with his vegan anarchist crew. By muddy down I mean, spend ages talking about his group’s entire backstory and future plans as well as current plans. It’s ok though because the bad guys get their own turn to sit around shooting the shit for a ridiculous amount of time as well.
It’s after the introduction of all these players that the magic of the movie is lost and it just feels dull.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with long dialogue and quirky characters. There were even moments during these monologues that I laughed. The writers are clever, but they’re also long winded and could have done with an editor to tighten things up. Evidently there wasn’t much on the cutting room floor because it’s hard enough filling out 2 hours with “Vegan good, Corporation bad” as it is.
My opinion might be totally wrong though, searches for “veganism” have spiked since Okja’s release and people on Twitter are loving the shit out of what is perhaps the preachiest movie of the year. But I hated it.
Little Korean Kid was cool though, total little bad ass.