Pig (Cillian Murphy) and Runt (Elaine Cassidy) are born moments apart in the same hospital in Cork, Ireland. They share adjoining houses, and their lives are inseparable, the pair even developing their own unique language. Days before their 17th birthday, Pig becomes unhinged when a classmate, Marky (Darren Healy), tries to kiss Runt. Runtís parents, on the advice of her teachers, send her away to a special school. Pig tracks her down, and they return to Cork where Pigís violent tendencies worsen. Celebrating their birthdays in a pub, Runt is beaten up and rescued by Marky, which sends Pig into a cataclysmic spiral.
Review by Paul Kalina:
Decidedly unromantic though it wants to pluck our romantic heartstrings, repellent while trying to draw out our sympathies, this exercise in style never quite grasps the consuming drama that the material so determinedly suggests.
Pig and Runt are linked by everything bar biology from the moment of their births. They live in adjoining houses, go to sleep holding hands (courtesy of a hole in the common wall), communicate in a language only they understand (a phenomenon not uncommon among twins) and jointly ponder such questions as the colour of love. They regard themselves less as flesh-and-blood adolescents than as characters in a fairytale, the metaphoric king and queen of a fictional world of their own making. But as they approach their 17th birthdays, this symbiotic relationship develops into an unhealthy obsession, especially when a meek schoolmate, Marky, reveals he is besotted by the angelic Runt (played by Elaine Cassidy, best known for her role in Atom Egoyanís Feliciaís Journey).
Resembling a psychotic who has walked in from a completely different film, Pigís behaviour turns increasingly violent and erratic. Here, the film descends into a disturbing love story about the darker undercurrents of obsession, jealousy and, via a wholly misjudged throwaway interlude, childhood abuse.
The problem that first-time feature director Kirsten Sheridan (daughter of playwright Jim Sheridan) never overcomes is in turning the brooding Pig into a character worthy of our empathy. As it veers into a Bonnie and Clyde-style depiction of crazed lovers who share thrill-kill instincts (itís strongly suggested that Runt is a willing accomplice in Pigís deviancy), it becomes harder to care a hoot for this Romeo and Juliet and their immortal bond. At several points, Sheridan relies on a soulful ballad on the soundtrack to create a lyrical mood, but the trick does not succeed at eliciting any more feeling or sentiment from this essentially cold and charmless duo.
Commendably, the film manages to break away from its roots as a two-hander stage-play with some slick and stylish, boldly designed set-pieces, but theatrical indulgences, such as Pigís overlong close-up soliloquies, have the effect of hijacking the central drama and bringing the film to a grinding halt.
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DISCO PIGS (MA)
CAST: Elaine Cassidy, Cillian Murphy, Brian F. O'Byrne, Eleanor Methven, Geraldine O'Rawe, Darren Healy
PRODUCER: Ed Guiney
DIRECTOR: Kirsten Sheridan
SCRIPT: Enda Walsh
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Igor Jadue-Lillo
EDITOR: Ben Yeates
MUSIC: Gavin Friday, Maurice Seezer
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Zoe MacLeod
RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Level 4 Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 28, 2002 (Melbourne only, other states to follow)