Review: A Cannes fave that tackles GM food production with laughs Discuss this article

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Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s Okja is a globalised caper comedy with a conscience buried somewhere among all its silliness. In the film’s sights are GM food production and the poor treatment of animals, and at its heart is a cute, often winning relationship between an oversized test-tube mammal and a Korean girl called Mija (An Seo Hyun). Call it a wacky kids’ film with a message, and it’s fine.

But there’s too much ripe language and violence for this to work for most kids, and less forgiving audiences are likely to find that Snowpiercer director Bong’s fondness for slapstick cancels out much of its serious purpose. Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal’s performances as corporate baddies out to turn these new animals into lucrative food are also, frankly, grating.

Visually, this is a classy affair, but the cartoonish corporate nastiness that dominates much of the film becomes seriously irritating with time.

The bottom line
A Cannes fave that will divide audiences.

By Dave Calhoun
Time Out Doha,


  • Duration: 118
  • Released: Thu, 29 Jun
  • Language: English,Korean
  • Director: Joon-ho Bong
  • Stars: Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Seo-Hyun Ahn

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