Dead Pigs (Cathy Yan, 2018)

Reviewed by Ryan Wildermuth. Viewed at the AFI Fest 2018.




Dead Pigs, directed by Cathy Yan, is a story about a bunch of seemingly random characters that eventually come together. Each character feels fleshed out and dynamic, and it’s genuinely interesting to see how they all relate to each other. Each character has their own motivations and they all feel real. Nobody really is the bad guy, rather characters make bad decisions based on the situations they’re in. It feels relatable and does a lot of explaining through actions and presentation.

Personally, I really enjoyed the characters as I found everyone relatable and dynamic. There was always something new to find out about them, each scene changing how you view a character. You follow all of them on what seems like a grand journey, and I was completely sucked into the world. The basic story line is that there’s a pig farmer in debt after a few bad investments, and all his collateral (pigs) die due to a mysterious epidemic. Meanwhile his son is in love with a a embittered rich girl, while his sister fights off her family house from an overly ambitious architect. All these characters are given clear goals and motivations that conflict with one another. This conflict feels natural and unforced, meaning conflict is difficult to watch as you are rooting for two characters on opposing sides. It’s really a great experience and leaves the viewer engaged in the story and world.

The ending ties everything up in a neat little bow, and while it feels pretty “hollywood” it was deserved as the movie felt like it had a lot of heart. Some may find it slightly off putting, but if you grew up with asian culture you’d understand that random karaoke segments are inescapable. There’s not really even much more I need to say about this movie, I really didn’t have any gripes with it and I left the movie gushing about it. If you can get a hold of this movie, I strongly would recommend it.


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