Review: ‘The King of Pigs’

'The King of Pigs'

The pernicious effect of bullying is the theme of "The King of Pigs," a South Korean animation that's as tough as its title suggests and then some.

The pernicious effect of bullying is the theme of “The King of Pigs,” a South Korean animation that’s as tough as its title suggests and then some. Showing brutality that would be hard for most viewers to stomach in live-action, debut scripter-helmer Yuen Sang-ho gets his message across with undeniable fury and a good measure of intelligence, but still faces a significant challenge in attracting auds beyond anime buffs. An award-winner at Busan, the pic is suited to fest sidebars, with modest offshore ancillary prospects. Local release is set for Nov. 3.

Hard-edged drawings and jagged character movements set the tone for the tale of Kyung-min (voiced by Oh Jeong-se), a failed writer who murders his wife and immediately contacts old friend Jong-suk (Yang Ik-june). The bulk of the running time consists of flashbacks to the duo’s teenage years, when they fell under the spell of Chul (Kim Hye-na), a charismatic outsider who took shocking revenge on class bullies. Script’s reflections on the life-changing effect of a violent youth are powerfully delivered, but imagery of exceptional cruelty to humans and animals leaves the most vivid impression. Tech package is solid.

The King of Pigs

South Korea

Production

A KT&G Sangsangmadang release of a King of Pigs Prod. Committee, Studio Dadashow production. (International sales: Indiestory, Seoul.) Produced by Cho Young-kag. Executive producers, Park Jeong-hwan, Lee Eung-chul. Directed, written by Yuen Sang-ho. (Color, HD); editors, Yeun, Lee Yeon-jeong; music, Eom Been; art director, Woo Je-kuen, character designer, Yuen, Kim Chang-sue. Reviewed at Busan Film Festival (Korean Cinema Today), Oct. 10, 2011. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Voices: Yang Ik-june, Oh Jeong-se, Kim Hye-na, Park Hee-von, Kim Kkobbi.

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