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Friday, 19 May 2017 03:50

'Okja': Film Review | Cannes 2017

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An ungainly mix of benign monster movie, action comedy and coming-of-age fable, Okja marks South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's contentious debut in the official Cannes competition selection. This effects-driven ensemble piece is a tonally uneven affair, cluttered with tone-deaf dialogue and crudely sketched characters that recall Luc Besson at his most obtuse.

But such minor flaws did not prevent Bong's previous adventures in socially conscious sci-fi fantasy, notably The Host and Snowpiercer, from earning critical raves and healthy box office numbers.

Bong's unorthodox creature feature is already a focus of Cannes controversy after French industry body CNC protested the festival's inclusion of films destined to bypass domestic theaters altogether. Okja is actually scheduled for a wide big-screen run in South Korea, plus more limited U.S. and U.K. outings in parallel with its global Netflix launch on June 28. Festival bosses have now agreed to bar any future films that do not qualify for local cinema release. But this was not enough of a compromise to prevent a disruptive co-ordinated campaign of audience booing and clapping during the first press screening in Cannes, presumably objecting to the Netflix connection.

An international co-production made by Brad Pitt's Plan B outfit, among others, Okja is Bong's biggest project yet.

Read more at HollywoodReporter

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