Snowpiercer mastermind Bong Joon-ho making a giant monster movie is automatically an event worth celebrating. His The Host is one of the greatest modern creature features, so his upcoming Okja is high up on my list of “oh hell yeah” movies. And if that’s not enough to stoke the fires, hopefully this photo of Jake Gyllenhaal and his delightful mustache will do the trick. (There are also a few other photos and a long, detailed plot synopsis, which are all great, but I’d watch any movie for this particular Gyllenhaal steez alone.)
A while back, some photos of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Okja look floated around and he looks like a wonderful maniac, in that hat, those glasses, and with that lip hamster, but also wearing a sick stripped blazer that really completed the ensemble. Those were paparazzi set photos and I’ve received enough cease and desist orders that I didn’t bother. But this is the real thing, released by Netflix, and while he’s not quite as manic, he still looks like a damn lunatic.
We also get a photo of Tilda Swinton playing one of two twin sisters in Okja (which she also did in the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! ). My guess that this is Lucy Mirando, CEO of the corporation of the same name in the film, but it could also be her sister, Nancy.
Then there’s a pic of Okja’s protagonist, Mija, played by the young Korean actor An Seo Hyun. Her best friend is the titular creature, reportedly a massive kind of pig monster, and the plot of the movie revolves around her rescue attempts.
Here’s the new, lengthy synopsis for Okja:
For 10 idyllic years, young Mija (An Seo Hyun) has been caretaker and constant companion to Okja — a massive animal and an even bigger friend — at her home in the mountains of South Korea. But that changes when the family-owned multinational conglomerate Mirando Corporation takes Okja for themselves and transports her to New York, where image obsessed and self-promoting CEO Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) has big plans for Mija’s dearest friend.
With no particular plan but single-minded in intent, Mija sets out on a rescue mission, but her already daunting journey quickly becomes more complicated when she crosses paths with disparate groups of capitalists, demonstrators and consumers, each battling to control the fate of Okja… while all Mija wants to do is bring her friend home.
Deftly blending genres, humor, poignancy and drama, Bong Joon Ho (“Snowpiercer,” “The Host“) begins with the gentlest of premises — the bond between man and animal — and ultimately creates a distinct and layered vision of the world that addresses the animal inside us all.
One thing Bong Joon-ho does better than just about anyone working right now is take these big genre concepts and not only do them justice, but also infuse them with an emotional weight that so many other films of this ilk lack. I can’t wait to see what he does here with all of these pieces to play with.
Okja hits Netflix June 28, but reports indicate it will also have some sort of theatrical run. That didn’t go great for Netflix with Beasts of No Nation, but this is one I desperately want to see on a big screen, so fingers crossed. There have also been rumbling that Bong and company may take this to Cannes, so that’s something to keep and eye on.