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London, modern day: Joe, a mild mannered young man is bored by his life. When his beloved brother is murdered Joe finds solace in Piggy, one of his brother's old friends. Piggy helps Joe to cope with grief, intent on saving him and helping him get justice for his brother's killing. As their friendship grows Joe finds himself in an increasing dangerous and murky world of violence and revenge. As Joe life collapses around him he starts to question who Piggy really is, and how honest he's really been with him. When Joe confronts Piggy a series of events are put in place that lead to a disastrous climax. Written by
Piggy in the middle of film makers trying to make a living.
Piggy is written and directed by Kieron Hawkes. It stars Martin Compston, Josh Herdman, Neil Maskell, Louise Dylan and Paul Anderson. Music is by Bill Ryder-Jones and cinematography by James Friend
When his brother is killed by thugs, Joe (Compston) is persuaded to mete out vengeance by his brother's friend, Piggy (Anderson).
Piggy, not exactly a great title really, is a good film, it really is. That is if one can skip back nearly 20 years and embrace the idea at its core all over again. We see it a lot these days, good films from the independent side of cinema shot down in flames by critics, both professional and amateur, because there is no originality on show. And even when a new twist is added to a staple genre, it stands no chance of gaining a weighty amount of critical support.
Piggy is far from flawless, I would be surprised if writer and director Kieron Hawkes was on record as saying that is the case. It's a film that will always suffer by comparison to a couple of huge critical darling movies that came out of America and the UK previously. I will not mention them, because that pretty much spoils the core of Piggy, something so many amateur reviewers and message board posters fail to grasp. But I grumpily digress...
Piggy is a violent picture, much like its lead protagonist in fact, but in amongst the blood and bone crunching, there's smart narrative splinters about alienation, fear of society, fear of violence and yes! Fear of finding the dark half of yourself taking over. So nothing new there of course, especially in British cinema during the gritty realism wave that has become something of a forte in my lifetime. But they are there and shows the film to have more to offer than merely being yet another London based stabathon.
Cast are good, with Compston once again proving to be a very under rated actor capable of really tuning into the art of under playing a role with confusion and sincerity of conflicting emotions. Anderson is scary as the title character, if a touch too cartoonish, while Maskell shows no signs of wanting to break free of the hard-man typecasting that now defines his career. Friend's cinematography is sometimes guilty of being too murky, and the "metallic" colour lenses favoured on occasions are a mistake since it's not a sci-fi or neo-noir movie.
Yet for all its inherent flaws and rawness, and the fact it owes its very being to other more lauded productions, Piggy should not be discounted as being a viable British slice of grit. The blood hounds are catered for, and those with a bent for the tints of emotionally damaged characters should definitely consider viewing this. It deserves better than its current internet rating and Kieron Hawkes, clearly a work in progress, might just be someone for British film fans to keep an eye on. 7/10
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