Piggy Movie Review
Working as a messenger in London, Joe (Compston) is a loner who doesn't like to be around people but is bored with his repetitive, numb life. Things improve when he reconnects with older brother John (Maskell) and his girlfriend Claire (Dylan). But Joe is terrified of violence, and rightly so, as both he and John are attacked in the streets. Then he meets John's street-thug friend Piggy (Anderson), who wears a rubber pig-nose as a disguise. He makes Joe feel eerily safe as he teaches him how to get revenge.
Narrated by Joe as an explanation for his descent into violence, it's hard not to immediately figure out exactly where this is heading. This gives the film a strong whiff of pretentiousness, as do the ponderous voiceover and surging score. Although along with the lushly dark photography, this over-egged filmmaking style does give the the movie a moody tone that draws us in. Like Joe, our main question is who Piggy really is. This seems plainly obvious, but is it?
Hawkes is certainly a gifted filmmaker, making the most of the settings and situations while drawing emotionally resonant performances from the actors.
Even the violent scenes, which are sudden and vicious, are layered with emotion as Joe struggles to grasp the horror of the grisly situations he stumbles into.
Compston is terrific as a sort of innocent young man struggling to accept the darkness within himself. And the sometimes cartoonish Anderson is a terrifying, haunting presence goading him forward.
In the end, this is essentially a souped-up B-movie trawl into man's innate tendency toward violence. Filmmaker Hawkes invests it with so much atmosphere that we can't help but think he had delusions of grandeur: it's not nearly as slick or insightful as it looks, and often feels lumbering. Although provocative acting and directing make it watchable, the plot's lack of originality leaves us somewhat unimpressed. Which also means that the emotional punch misses the mark.