HIFF Review: ‘Pig Death Machine’
REVIEW BY BURL BURLINGAME / Special to the Star-Advertiser
John Waters, somebody’s been ho’in in your pea patch. Jon Moritsugu and Amy Davis’ defiantly knuckleheaded “Pig Death Machine” doesn’t bend the rules of storytelling so much as ignores them, and the result is interesting, but only for a little while.
At some point we can handle only so much disjointment. Our brains demand coherence. Or maybe just a recognizable pattern.
‘PIG DEATH MACHINE’
Screens at 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18
There’s potentially interesting stuff here, and the mix of darkly punk attitude and sunny Santa Fe locations gives a Hernandez Brothers cartoon vibe. The story line — such as it is — seems to involve some rotting pork meat that, when ingested, causes physiological and psychological changes in people. One girl who loves plants can hear them talk to her, except that it turns out plants don’t have much to say.
Another woman, a barely functioning idiot, has her IQ boosted into the stratosphere. Imagine “Charly” directed by David Chronenberg, except that I’d pay to see that. Everything here is undercut by deliberate anti-gloss, as if the laws of coherence are too plebeian for the self-imagined lofty artiness of the filmmakers. There is no exposition, no dialogue that illuminates, no central thread or grand ideas, just a lot of grand sniggering.
But that’s OK. Rules were meant to be broken. Despite their best/worst intentions, “Pig Death Machine” does have many beautiful images and a sense of self-aware humor about itself. I hope the filmmakers aren’t horrified to hear that they succeeded at something.
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