First-time helmer Hong Sang-Soo, who studied film in Chicago and L.A., somehow manages to keep this Seoul-ful jam session coherent, but the plot turns are tricky and there’s some messy stuff around every bend. The improv takes this central quartet of urban angsters to strange, sometimes contradictory places, and part of the fun comes from watching auds argue over the meaning of some particularly twisted segs, as when the husband – who may or may not have picked up an STD from a hooker – dreams of attending his own funeral. Trouble is, when everybody else shows up and the story keeps developing, you can’t be sure it is a dream.
Other scenes are more prosaic, and helmer is just as interested in the banal as in the fantastic. Particularly memorable is the evening in which the self-righteous novelist goes out with some former co-workers, drinks too much and proceeds to make a royal ass of himself. Pic’s surprisingly bloody denouement, in which a side player goes berserk for no comprehensible reason, smacks of youthful indulgence and looks like a last-minute add-on.
This doesn’t diminish the quirky, deadpan tone of what’s gone before, however. With its deep hues and abrupt shifts in tone (helped by sharp editing and moody music), “Pig” will be a treat for hard-core cinephiles even if it makes everyone else say, “Well …”