03rd May2012

‘Piggy’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Martin Compson, Neil Maskell, Paul Anderson, Josh Herdman, Louise Dylan | Written and Directed by Kieron Hawkes


I think I started to worry with Piggy when I saw the poster and it had a quote on it saying it was the “New Clockwork Orange”, the first thing that sprang into my head at that moment was it had a lot to prove. A Clockwork Orange is one of my favourite films so of course my sceptical mind was awoken straight away. This of course was a comment from another review that had been used so you can’t hold it against the film for what a critic has said. I would state though, you can’t beat A Clockwork Orange for what it does, it is that simple.

Piggy is another one of those gritty Brit flicks that we seem to do so well. It tells the tale of Joe, a nice guy who just works his way through his day and is quite bored with life. When his brother John is killed one of his friends turns up at Joe’s door to offer his condolences. Joe can’t remember this guy but is convinced that of whom he is. Piggy pulls Joe into a darker world where violence and revenge are used under the guise of justice and where Joe is changed forever.

Looking into the director Kieron Hawkes’ history it’s very surprising to see this is the first film he’s directed and written, to me it shows there is a very bright future in the British film industry if we have people like this appearing. Piggy is not as good as it could have been but as a debut film? It’s a very impressive start. The problem I found though was Piggy has a lot of promise it just does not deliver. There are elements that are as subversive as A Clockwork Orange, there are moments that are right out of Fight Club and they definitely make you wonder what exactly was real, but in the end they get so close to delivering but just miss that perfect point where they have met their true potential.

Looking at the cast it’s also another strong example of British cinema, especially with the inclusion of Neil Maskell even if playing the brother he’s not in the film for that long. In my opinion Maskell is one of the UK’s most natural actors and it’s nice to see him moving out of the shadows of just being the sidekick type character in films like The Football Factory and Doghouse, it’s just a shame that he’s not on the screen for longer than he is. As well as Maskell the rest of the cast, including the lead actors Martin Compston (Joe) and Paul Anderson (Piggy) play their roles well making the events realistic and believable in all their violent glory.

I mention the violence because this is one thing people will need to be aware of; the violence quota is quite high in this one. There is no hiding from the fact that this is a dark story where the language is violence and the words spoken are all retribution. At times it could almost be described as quite sadistic, but when you are looking at a story about revenge in the form of violence what can be expected? It goes with the territory and Piggy as a character and a film does not hold back.

Piggy is a good film; it just holds more promise that it delivers. I found it enjoyable and very watchable, but being quite tolerant of violence I enjoyed that element of it a lot. Looking at the way the film has been marketed though it’s obvious this is no “rom-com” it’s made to look dark and dramatic and this is exactly what it delivers. I’m going to watch out for the next film by Kieron Hawkes, this is definitely a director to watch out for.

Piggy is on limited release across the UK from May 4th, courtesy of Metrodome.


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