Today: July 19, 2024
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Piggy

Mild-mannered, introvert Joe (Martin Compston) is the kind of guy who wouldn’t say “Boo!” to a goose.

Mild-mannered, introvert Joe (Martin Compston) is the kind of guy who
wouldn’t say “Boo!” to a goose.
In
fact, he probably doesn’t even have the balls to look the goose in the
eye. Timid and shy, he’s
practically a recluse; all Joe does is go to work, come home and smoke
dope. His only contact with the
outside world is his beloved brother John (Kill List’s Neil Maskell) and unrequited crush Claire (Louise
Dylan
).

Things
are going pretty good for a while and Joe starts to come out of his shell a
little. But then a minor
altercation in a pub with some local thugs escalates and later that night John
is ambushed and murdered.
Devastated by his brother’s loss, Joe cuts himself off again, retreating
back into his insular world; lost, alone and angry. Until Piggy (The Firm remake and current
Brit-nutbag du jour Paul Anderson) turns up at his door one
night. Piggy’s an old school
friend of John’s. Volatile and
menacing, Piggy soon dominates the younger man. Under Piggy’s tutelage, Joe becomes stronger, more
confident, more willing to stand up for himself. But Piggy has a plan.
Piggy wants justice for John.
And he’s going to help Joe to get it. The two begin a campaign of murderous vengeance. But just who is Piggy and can Joe
really trust him?

A
would-be gritty, revenge thriller that borrows liberally from Fight Club, Piggy with it’s
disaffected protagonist first railing then fighting back against the scum of
modern society, obviously aspires to being
a Brit Taxi Driver but feels more like a nasty
riff on Death Wish. Saddled with an accent that’s more Greenock than Green
Lanes, Martin Compston’s soulful Joe is a sympathetic enough protagonist and
his performance is fine – as long as he doesn’t speak. It’s a shame then that the film relies
on Compston’s near-constant narration.
Never the most subtle of actors, Anderson overacts to such an extent
that you feel he might be ready for panto in Woking and it’s good to see that
Maskell, despite an inability to convincingly deliver a line, keeps getting
acting work.

While the
film lacks originality, Hawkes does create a nice feel of urban decay,
permeating the film with a doomy sense of menace. Piggy feels like a violent
film. And it is. Even if there’s not that much onscreen
violence. As Piggy and Joe hunt,
torture and murder John’s killers, the worst of the mayhem coyly takes place
just out of shot rendering the film’s uglier aspects more palatable to a
mainstream audience. Piggy and Joe
aren’t bad guys (ok, Piggy might be), they’re just cleaning up society. So that makes it ok for Piggy to stamp
a guy to death.

Despite a
last-act ‘twist’ that somehow manages the not inconsiderable task of being both
predictable and surprising, Piggy is a nasty, repulsive
little vigilante thriller that celebrates, and gets off on, the violence it
seeks to condemn.

David Watson

David Watson is a screenwriter, journalist and 'manny' who, depending on time of day and alcohol intake could be described as a likeable misanthrope or a carnaptious bampot. He loves about 96% of you but there's at least 4% he'd definitely eat in the event of a plane crash. Email: david.watson@filmjuice.com

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