Okja ★★★½

Being surrounded by many well-meaning, moralistic, vegetarian/vegan liberals as a meat eater, I've had many conversations about why I continue to eat meat knowing what I know about factory farming, the suffering of animals, and meat's impact on climate change. I've never been able to come up with a satisfying answer, for myself or for others. Okja was another didactic, moralistic, moment for me to consider this choice. It was largely effective as an invective against eating meat. But then I had fried chicken a few hours after watching it. So I suppose it wasn't that effective. I guess I still kind of fall somewhere along the lines of where David Foster Wallace fell on eating meat in "Consider the Lobster," which is to say, ambivalent about the whole thing.

Bong Joon Ho is, if nothing else, a great conveyor of how idiosyncratic Korean culture is. And with the assistance of Tilda Swinton (in terms of director/actress combos, Swinton-Ho is not quiet up there next to Assayas-Stewart or Tarantino-Thurman, but it's a pretty good combo) and Jake Gyllenhaal, this movie definitely gets into some weird places. Park Chan-Wook still has him beat, though, in terms of Korean peculiarities displayed on screen through incredible story telling.

No person or institution (animal activists, corporations, globalists) is safe from ridicule in this film, save for the earnest young female protagonist. And spending a couple of hours marinating in the absurdity of modern society can be fun, especially when John Denver's "Annie's Song" is used to such great effect, but it doesn't make for a memorable film. I doubt I'll be thinking much about this film over the years.