(US/South Korea - 2017)
Directed by Bong Joon Ho. Written by Bong Joon Ho and Jon Ronson. Cast: Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, An Seo Hyun, Giancarlo Esposito, Byun Heebong, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Yoon Je Moon, Shirley Henderson, Daniel Henshall, Devon Bostick, Woo Shik Choi, voice of Jungeun Lee. (Unrated, 120 mins)
Visionary South Korean auteur Bong Joon Ho (THE HOST) returns with the Netflix Original film OKJA, his first since 2014's word-of-mouth arthouse/VOD hit SNOWPIERCER. Like SNOWPIERCER, OJKA splits its time between English and subtitled Korean, but instead of a grim, dystopian class struggle among the last remnants of humanity aboard a perpetually-moving train, it's a freewheeling, go-for-broke satire on corporate America, genetically modified foods, and idiotic TV personalities, among everything else Bong throws at the wall to see what sticks. Normally, the kitchen sink mentality on display here is a recipe for disaster, and while some of it is far too forced and over-the-top, its barbs hit and hit hard. The wild tonal shifts are by design, but Bong could've tightened the leash on a couple of the film's bigger names. OKJA opens in 2007, as Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton, in her second film for the director after SNOWPIERCER) is installed as the CEO of Mirando, an agrochemical biotechnology corporation obviously modeled on Monsanto. Lucy's taken over the post, replacing her twin sister Nancy, a PR nightmare viewed as "too mean" to sell the Mirando brand to the public. Lucy immediately starts a goodwill campaign involving 26 "super pigs"--genetically modified pigs created in a Mirando lab under the guise of maximum profits with a minimal footprint. And, as Lucy also explains, "They need to taste fucking good."