Perhaps the humour in this new Iranian “comedy” is lost in translation, as Pig purports to be a wicked and wild entry in the genre, though for all its efforts, it’s just too tonally confused and underwhelming to fully convince us it always has laughs on its mind.
The darkly delightful concept seems original enough: fear spreads through the filmmaking community as director after director are being beheaded, though blacklisted director, Hasan Kasmai (Hasan Majuni), is jealous that this murderer isn’t targeting him. He hopes to be the target’s next victim, yet also simultaneously foil the murderer’s plans as well, but his home-life involving his gun-wielding mother and his muse (Leila Hatami) who’s taking up other film roles, all leaves him disheartened and eager for the assassin to get him next, just so he can be validated as a filmmaker worth murdering.
The unusual concept here seems funny enough, yet it can’t extend this film out to a feature length run-time. This story of paranoia and intrigue has to be filled with extraneous moments of interpersonal drama that very rarely works because Pig can’t decide on a tone to go with, switching between goofy comedy and melodrama and procedural mystery at its own leisure. Going back and forth with these jarring transitions between tones, it never manages to excel in one, and our connection with the characters is alleviated as a result.
Pig certainly has style, it keeps itself busy for the most part, and a rock musical number/ hallucination is (despite sandwiched between two otherwise very serious scenes) a fun highlight. Even though there’s an energy to its aesthetic, there’s just not enough confidence in what the film wants to be to keep it consistently engaging.
There’s a level of respect that can be given to such a film that’s trying to be a dark crowd-pleaser, but the film just doesn’t have the conviction or the focus to stick with one mood or to know how to combine them effectively. Honestly, an American remake by filmmakers who know how to handle dark comedy better would not be unwelcome.