London scares me. For several reasons, not least of all that it’s too damned big and too damned expensive.
Aside from that, popular culture would have you believe that London is little more than a hole of urban deprivation and roving street gangs. A myth that Kieron Hawkes’ London-based revenge thriller Piggy does little to dispel.
Piggy is the story of Joe, a quiet, introverted mail room clerk. He keeps himself to himself and goes about his business, avoiding human interaction, and confrontation, wherever possible. His only real friends are his brother John, and John’s girlfriend Claire.
When John is brutally murdered following an altercation in a local pub, Joe’s world begins to crumble amid fantasies of revenge…and that’s when Piggy shows up, claiming to be an old friend of John’s and willing to help Joe restore some balance by getting the revenge he so desperately wants. ..
Piggy has a lot to recommend it but, equally, plenty of downsides. An exercise in style over substance that perhaps could have been handled with a lighter touch. Writer/director Kieron Hawkes HAS skilfully crafted a gritty, Brit revenge flick, but sadly, it’s one lacking in the originality department. It’s also a little overwrought at times and could perhaps have benefited from a little longer with the editor.
What Hawkes has done well, however, is put together his cast.
The cast are undoubtedly Piggy’s strong point. Fellow Scot Martin Compston (Strippers vs Werewolves, Wild Country) is excellent as Joe, though his accent often leaves a little to be desired. A minor niggle though, as Compston manages to run the gamut of emotions from fear, to sorrow to fury over the film’s running time, and does it all pretty damn well.
Kill List‘s Neil Maskell pops up for a while as Joe’s ill-fated brother, John. Maskell’s appearance, though brief, is still a good performance, the kind that he does in his sleep.
Speaking of “popping up”, Jumayn Hunter (Attack The Block, Cherry Tree Lane) pops up too, alongside Harry Potter baddie, Josh Herdman, as two of the gang that take John’s life. Both are exactly as you’d expect though Herdman is still rocking the Gregory Goyle “villain eyes”, until his on-screen demise, which it has to be said, is pretty brutal.
The star of it all, and the name on the box, is definitely Piggy. Paul Anderson (A Lonely Place To Die, Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) throws himself into the role with a frightening, if at times, slightly over the top, intensity and is never anything less than impressive.
Hawkes favours the “less is more” approach to the violence at Piggy‘s core, something which I am very fond of. We SEE Piggy taking his pound of flesh but we HEAR everything. Every crunch. Every splat. Every squelch, allowing us to formulate in our own twisted little minds, images of exactly what is taking place.
Almost everyone will see the ending of Piggy, and its twist, coming long before it does, which is a shame. We have seen it done before and done so much better. That said, Kieron Hawkes is a director to look out for.
For all it’s technical accomplishments, Piggy, as a psychological thriller, is sorely lacking and a strong cast is not enough to save it. The script is a little flimsy and rife with plot holes, with many central characters feeling underdeveloped. It’s not a terrible film by any means, just a wasted opportunity.
Piggy is released on DVD on May 21st via Metrodome.