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.