Okja (Film) Review

Searching for that one friend in a million
There will be no film review next Monday because my beloved is on holiday and deserves a lovely break.

I have lots of post ideas under my belt though so have no fear about missing out on my fascinating updates, they will be coming in thick and fast. Or they’ll be coming, I suppose I shouldn’t promise the world with no idea if I can deliver.

Anyway, I wanted to review (in the loosest sense of the word) a film that’s just appeared on Netflix, one I’ve been looking forward to since I saw the first trailer. I’ll steer clear of spoilers as much as possible since it is brand new and I want you to watch it.

Without further fucking about.

Okja (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja.

*All the feels*

My Review

Before we start I feel like a disclaimer should be applied. Not to patronise anyone but this film near killed me emotionally and I thought it was worth a mention. Sure, I watched it under a blanket with a stuffed Hello Kitty (dressed as Wonder Woman) under one arm and a bar of chocolate under the other – my lower sadness level – but still. Prepare to be traumatised.

It also takes some dark turns that I hadn’t expected (but should of, given the director) so there’s that too. My BFF David said he took one look at the preview and knew he couldn’t do it. Which I respect.

Mija is a young girl living in the mountains in Korea. She lives a simple and lovely life with her grandfather and their giant Superpig, Okja. Oh, you want a little background about Okja, do you? Fine.

Okja isn’t just any old family pet. She belongs to the Mirando Corporation, a huge global giant with a controversial past. New CEO, Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) is determined to change the image of the company with a socially conscious rebrand and the answer is obvious – SUPERPIGS. (Isn’t it always?).

As part of this massive project, Mirando have been breeding pigs (bigger, better GM-super food Superpigs for the consumption of the masses) and have dispatched twenty-six of their best piglets to twenty-six locations across the globe. These little beauties will be reared naturally and lovingly by expert farmers for the next ten years – until the ultimate Superpig can be crowned the winner (and their meat can go on sale to the public).

Don’t be mean to the piggies, Tilda
Our heroines therefore have been inseparable since they were babes in the wood and now they literally are just two BFF babes in the wood, frolicking in streams and napping under fruit trees. Until one day, a decade later, Mirando comes knocking again.

The threat comes in the form of TV zoologist Dr Johnny (Jake Gyllenhaal), the face of The Mirando Corp who has, along with the rest of his team, been keeping close tabs on all the pigs across the world. When he claps eyes on Okja though he’s blown away, declares her the hands-down winner and thus begins Okja’s Big Adventure.

While grandpa is resigned to Okja’s future, Mija is not prepared to let it slide. Girl’s gonna fight for her best friend, innit? So she sets off to Seoul (Okja’s first stop) where she falls in with Paul Dano and the Animal Liberation Front and inadvertently becomes part of a much bigger plan to take on Mirando and reveal the sinister truth behind the piggies.

*Boo hiss* Motherfucker!
Mirando (but of course) are not all they appear to be and public relations take a knocking when the ALF gets involved. Lucy’s place at the top becomes precarious while her team pander to every childlike wobble. With her sister, former CEO Nancy (also Swinton) secretly sniffing around, it doesn’t look like she’ll be ruling for long.

Meanwhile, ALF uncover all manner of horrible goings on behind the public face of the company. When Lucy decides to send Mija to NYC to be reunited with Okja, Dano and friends follow and it becomes a mad dash to save the best damn pig I’ve ever seen in my life.

Can they get there before Okja is lost forever – and will true love out?

Leave Okja ALONE!

My Thoughts

This is an odd little movie that I love a lot. It made me feel everything and some of the scenes are so beautiful I can’t get them out of my head. If this is your sort of thing then you’ll be as invested as I in the relationship between little girl and beast.

Ultimately, all that matters here is the friendship between two living creatures and honestly, all I wanted was a peaceful resolution. Whether than happens is for you to find out.

Meanwhile, most performances are spot on. Swinton nails both Mirando sisters with ease. If you’ve seen 2013’s Snowpiercer then you’ve had a flavour of what you get here.

Other standouts are Seo-Hyuan Ahn as Mija, who’s all kinds of amazing in her pursuit of what’s right. I also had time for the ALF, especially K (Steven Yeun). I was worried this film would be very white washed and perhaps it is but I thought its blend of Eastern and Western culture wasn’t too bad.

There are lots of comments here about the state of the world and our mass consumption. At times I felt it was asking me to consider where my fulfilment comes from and at what cost. It’s hard to watch this film when you’re invested in an animal with a rounded personality that loves and is loved, you know?

Okja gives you food for thought, is beautiful, touching and stressful as heck. I recommend it. And honestly, from the start your only concern will be the pig. ūüź∑ 

Have you seen Okja? If so, what are your thoughts?

Ps. We’ll be reviewing Okja on All Out of Bubblegum in the next few weeks, so watch out for that. 

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Film) Review


Here in Collab Land I feel as though we’re watching too many good films, and there’s just not enough to snark about lately.¬†This is not a bad thing in the grand scheme of things but I miss ripping films to shreds while enjoying the shit out of them for the very reasons I’m being snarky in the first place.

Looking back on some of the utter drivel we’ve picked in the past only makes me crave more B-movie goodness so we’ll be exploring more of that very soon.

Also, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to announce this yet but Jillian and I will very soon be enjoying¬†at least one film side by side on the same couch IRL. IRL dudes! I can’t hardly wait.

But to Wes Anderson’s masterpiece. Yeah, that’s right, motherfucking MASTERPIECE. I’m not very good at holding back on my view in the intros, am I? So sue me. I’ll review as normal below but I am madly in love with TGBH and it was worth the two year wait.

In case, like me, you’re well behind on the Wanderson hype (see what I did?), beware those *Spoilers*!

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Willem Dafoe, Literally all other Wes Anderson alumni

IMDB Synopsis: The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

My Review:

I don’t even know how this review will go down. The story is so typically Anderson, with lots of intricate twists and turns that I’ll be hard pressed to do justice. But I’ll try to pay adequate tribute to a film I¬†think really is one of his best to date.

Put that in your pipe, Schwartzman

A young writer (Law) befriends the concierge at the now crumbling Grand Budapest Hotel. One day he notices one of the guests, a lonely looking man named Mr. Moustafa (Abraham) who turns out to be the owner of the establishment.

Curious, the writer strikes up a conversation with Moustafa, who willingly agrees to tell him the long, long story of the hotel and how he ended up owning it.

Over a dinner that gave me gout just thinking about it, Moustafa tells Jude Law the story of the original concierge, the dandy and overly perfumed M. Gustave (Fiennes) and his zany adventures with trainee lobby boy Zero (Revolori).

M. Gustave is something of a playboy who has a good thing going at the Budapest. This good thing is an innocent little Sugar Mummy racket, that works well for all parties concerned, frankly (maybe not the husbands). Things are ticking along nicely until the untimely passing (? She is well into her eighties) of Madame D (Tilda Swinton), who is smitten with Gustave.

“They said silver grey hair is totally in at the moment…”

Her death prompts a cross country trip by the two friends to pay their last respects at Madame D’s estate. Alas, dead rich people often¬†encourage people out of the woodwork and when they arrive, it’s a full house.

Don’t be a square

Madame D’s lawyer Kovacs (Goldblum) is present to read out the last will and testament and as luck would have it, Madame D has bequeathed a valuable painting, Boy with Apple, to our nice smelling hero. This does not go down well with her children, particularly Dmitri and Jopling (Brody and Dafoe), who have murder on their minds in response.


While in residence at poor Madame D’s, Gustave shows Zero the painting in question and they decide to nick it (well, technically it is now G’s). With the help of butler Serge X (Mathieu Amalric) and a maid, they smuggle it out and return to the Budapest to¬†hide it. On the way back, the men make a pact that if Zero helps Gustave, Gustave will make him his one and only heir (big clue).

Unfortunately, it’s not long until the fuzz come a-knocking, though¬†surprisingly not for the painting. Turns out Madame D’s been knocked off and the number one suspect is Gustave (but of course). It doesn’t help that his initial instinct is to leg it and he winds up in clink.

“Scorpio: You will have a fine moustache and become¬†involved in a wild goose chase across a candy coloured landscape…”

The police think it’s Gustave because of a false testimony made by Serge X, who has mysteriously disappeared himself. Gustave quickly settles into prison life, charming even the trickiest of inmates and falls in with a hardened posse, led by Ludwig (Harvey Keitel).

Meanwhile, Zero is on the outside with his love Agatha (Ronan), who bakes for Mendls, a patisserie long loved by Gustave and the guests of the Budapest. The two become engaged almost immediately and Agatha is only too happy to assist a prison break by baking tools into little cakes.

Prison break? Piece of cake, fam

I can’t go on telling you each and every thing that goes down but let’s just say the escape¬†goes according to plan and our friends are reunited. Serge X also appears again and it becomes clear that Madame D had a second will (but what could that will say?).

The police are still on the case of Gustave but now also are Madame D’s sons and they aren’t afraid to kick some arse and take names (or fingers) to get their hands on their mother’s estate.


Will Madame D’s true intent ever be known? Where’s Serge X been and why did he lie about the night of MD’s death? Will the brothers win this one or will victory shine her light on Gustave and his heterosexual life partner Zero?

And finally, what became of the infamous concierge and lovely Agatha, and why aren’t they around in present day?

Which way to the concierge?

My Thoughts:

I just loved every minute, every performance and every cameo, no matter how tiny. It’s beautiful and funny; risqu√© in places, dark in others and I want to watch it all over again. Right now.

The chemistry between Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori is really lovely and the latter is excellent in this role. I love that one of the lead parts went to a virtually unknown actor, who carries the film effortlessly.

I’d really like to live in the Budapest Hotel too, it’s so kitsch it hurts.

My Rating: 5/5. Fucking perfection. 

I already know the answer to this, but for dramatic effect: what did Jillian think? Is she ready to check in or does her opinion of this film go the same way as Kovacs’ cat? Find out here, yo.