Film: Okja – (2.5/4)

Similar to my emotions toward Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer” I felt there were a lot of things to admire about “Okja,” but it had a few misfires to keep it from being truly great.

One thing it nails is its ambitious plot. The story is wholly original without ever feeling preachy which, given the subject matter, could have easily happened. It’s also a colorful film filled with interesting characters.

My issue lies in the ever-shifting mood of the film. It plays both quirky and straight-faced intermittently and it sometimes feels uncomfortably jarring. 

The characters grow with the ebb and flow of this mood, which doesn’t work at all with Gyllenhaal’s character. Not sure if what went wrong here was Gyllenhaal’s performance or Joon-ho’s direction, but it didn’t work.

There’s a moment at the midpoint of the film that meshes one of its most serious, defining, moments with the quirkiness of Gyllenhaal’s performance and it is cringe-inducing. I reiternate – It didn’t work at all for me.

The conclusion is the best part of the film. Being a satisfying “happy” ending while the hard truths we’ve recently discovered still loom in the back of our minds unresolved.

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