Although the #366movies task enables me to keep one foot marching forward looking at new releases, it’s also a great chance excuse to look back and seek out some forgotten films of yesteryear. Sometimes you can discover a little gem (most recently for me Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen – what a treat!), and other times you can unearth a film which was best left alone in the archives. With regret, Disco Pigs falls into the latter category.
The problems with Kirsten Sheridan’s 2001 debut are multitudinous. Amongst the Irish backdrop, the film centres itself around the complex relationship between best friends, neighbours, and soul mates Sinead and Darren, aka Runt and Pig, aka Elaine Cassidy and Cillian Murphy, and their conquest for the perfect life together. Playing it out like a deranged Romeo and Juliet, although their relationship may be unequivocal, there’s very little on show here that an audience can grapple with or care about, as they come across as languishing teenage punks. Worse still, there’s small traces of art school in Disco Pigs. Working best with what he’s given, Murphy delivers monologues with all the melodrama that is required for monologues’ sake. However, what in the blue Monday are soliloquies doing in this film in the first place? Prancing around the bedroom, bellowing, throwing things and bouncing of the walls; such theatre makes you feel a little awkward inside. Aside from that, the illogicality goes further with plot-holes all over the shop and some seriously questionable, stop-short character developments.
It’s a great shame for me as I have quite the soft spot for sir Cillian. With staggering performances in Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, I still feel like we are yet to see the best of him. In all its faults, its interesting to see him chewing the fat here and developing the crazed persona which he has revisited in more recent work. Terrifying.
With some of the thickest Irish accents I’ve seen on screen since Angela’s Ashes, Disco Pigs is difficult to understand on so many levels. Hardly a criticism of the film and more a problem with my own lug holes, I’ve never been able to establish similarities between Irish and Jamaican dialects. Sheridan makes that possible here, so at least I can thank her for that.
I’ve seen it, so you don’t have to.
PS – Sheridan’s new film will be premiering at Berlinale this year. It actually sounds really rather good, so I look forward to seeing it there. Yes, this was a poorly veiled excuse to mention that I’m going to the film festival. Big woo too!!