47 Years of Student Run Cinema
Student Film Society of the Year 2002, 2005, 2006
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Kirsten Sheridan, UK, 2001, 93 minutes
This is a beautifully dark little fairytale from the pen of Enda Walsh, adapted from his stage play. Pig (Cillian Murphy) and Runt (Elaine Cassidy) are soul mates in the way that only 16 year olds can be. The intensity of their relationship is manifest in their shared birthday, the secret language they have developed, and the hypnotic, fantastical world they live in when together. However, their cocoon is shattered with Pig’s burgeoning sexual desires, and the encroachment of the outside world makes them consider the sacrifices they have to make in order to grow up.
Runt, quiet and introspective, accepts that change is inevitable; but Pig is only able to channel his fear into jealousy and extreme aggression. He lashes out in desperation whenever he feels his relationship with Runt is threatened. Several scenes are incredibly brutal, and visceral, serving as a dark counterpoint to the innocence of the feelings between the two characters as they escape from reality. Thus in equal measures, is the audience repulsed and mesmerised, whilst still finding sympathy for both characters. As Runt pulls further and further away, will Pig be able to control his obsessive nature, or will his near psychotic appetites destroy them both?
Murphy and Cassidy are simply outstanding as the "twinned" Pig and Runt, grounding the film with their thick accents and portrayal of both the beauty and the ugliness of their emotional bond. The stylistic direction gives it a pounding heart, alternating between calm and frenetic tempos. This mirrors Pig’s intensity of feeling and loss of control. For anyone who loves films such as Heavenly Creatures, this film has much to recommend, and is a gem from the new breed of Irish filmmakers who have rightly abandoned whimsy, but maintain a uniquely Celtic manner of storytelling.
Review by Claire Devlin
Written for EUFS Programme Autumn 2006