South Korea, United States
“Okja is fun, if sometimes over-egged, as an adventure romp, but flounders in overstatement when it comes to satirical intent. It could be called either audacious or misjudged when the final act takes us to a factory farm for giant pigs, where the film startlingly turns into something between My Neighbor Totoro and Le Sang des Bêtes.” – Jonathan Romney (Screen Daily)
“Okja is basically an R-rated kids’ movie that remains exciting and engaging enough throughout, with brutal images of animal slaughtering that will both remind the audience of Fast Food Nation and perhaps even convince them to turn vegetarian.” – Tomris Laffly (Film Journal)
“This is a story almost too eager to fire in multiple directions, sometimes with messy results, veering from broad satire to softer exchanges with little regard for finding balance between the two… Zipping along to a vibrant soundtrack, Bong crafts lively, action-packed moments that find the hulkish Okja careening through public spaces while people scramble around her.” – Eric Kohn (IndieWire)
First time in competition for Bong Joon-ho following two Un Certain Regard selections (Mother; Tokyo!), Okja now competes for the Palme d’Or. A tough outcome to call given the film’s diverse themes and reception, so this really could be all or nothing: I predict it sadly draws a blank on the main prizes – but Prize of the Ecumenical Jury perhaps?