Joon-ho Bong’s Okja tells the story of a little girl and her super pig. When Okja gets taken from Mija (An Seo Hyun), she does everything she can to get him back. It is a moving tale that also showcases the meat industry and its disregard for animal lives. The cast is made up of Korean and American actors and has a lot to say about our society. Watching this made me think of other Korean films that I have been lucky enough to see over the years and how they seem to know us as citizens better than we do.
The Host is how a monster is created when chemicals are dumped into Seoul’s Han River by an American doctor (Scott Wilson, Hershel from Walking Dead). Hyun-seo (Ko A-sung) is taken by the mutant being and her family races to get her back. It is a monster movie but at it’s core it is about family with a bittersweet ending.
Snowpiercer is set in the future with a group of survivors who are trapped on a train that circles the Earth due to a climate change experiment. The train is separated by class of people. Those who run the train are in the front where it is luxurious and those in the back are keeping the train moving and are fed hideous bars of “food”. A rebellion rises up that is led by Curtis (Chris Evans) against the terrifying leader Mason (Tilda Swinton). Snowpiercer is my favorite on this list and is being made into a television show starring Daveed Diggs.
Train to Busan is about a father trying to get his daughter to Busan where she can be safe after a zombie outbreak occurs in Seoul. It is reminiscent of Snowpiercer in that is set on a train fueled by fear, the upper class believe that they deserve to be saved over the lower class, and it has an amazing action fight sequence. This is the only movie on the list that isn’t directed by Joon-ho Bong but it is just as good as the rest and I am a sucker for a quality zombie flick.
Korean films Okja, The Host, Snowpiercer, and Train to Busan are all about family (biological and non-biological). But they all have a darker view of the world, which takes away the element of a fairytale ending. Whether it’s a story about a girl and her pig, a monster movie, a dystopian tale set on a train, or a zombie film, I think this view is what sets them apart and makes them so good.
I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!