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Not just another Teen Movie...
on 14 May 2002
'Disco Pigs', based on the stage play by Enda Walsh is the story of the intense and lifelong friendship between two teenagers in Ireland, which manages at once to be hauntingly beautiful and decidedly unnerving when everything starts to unbalance.
'Pig' (Cillian Murphy) and 'Runt' (Elaine Cassidy)can be equated to the likes of Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey in 'Heavenly Creatures' or Alicia Witt and Renée Humphrey in 'Fun' - the two have been friends since birth and are happy to inhabit their own imagined world exclusive of other people. The onslaught of pubescence, however, puts paid to the delicate balance of the friendship, as Pig's possessiveness of "his" girl and Runt's curiosity about other boys begin to ruin everything.
I found the story of 'Disco Pigs' fascinating - the subject matter has been handled before onscreen but that doesn't detract from its power in the slightest. First-time director Kirsten Sheridan has brought to the surface the ugliness and desperation of obsessive, possessive behaviour without eradicating sympathy from the audience for the confused Runt and violent Pig (both of whose characters are excellently portrayed). Sequences such as the last disco, set to the Death in Vegas track 'Dirge', are utterly mesmerizing to watch and fully overtake in one's mind the slightly clumsier sequences. Some may find the dialogue difficult to understand in places, but although the film was released in Australia with subtitles, apparently 90% of American test audiences could understand the "pals'" language of babytalk and Cork slang.
Some more mature and perhaps over-cynical reviewers seem reluctant to take 'Disco Pigs' seriously, trying to write it off as some hamfisted homage to teenage angst with a few instances of frightening violence thrown in to make it interesting. This is not so. My experience of Disco Pigs was of a resounding and beautiful movie that captures the extremes of violence, tenderness and confusion that permeate the journey into adulthood. The DVD doesn't contain anything particularly special in the way of extras, but the film itself is worth exploring.