As one of the final movies to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, PIGGY promised to be an impactful film right from its revenge-filled premise and its visually shocking still-image. Carlota Pereda follows the “show, don’t tell” motto without any restraint. PIGGY is an aggressive, violent, bloody, and traumatic story with an anti-bullying and anti-fat-shaming moral at its core; that may easily trigger sensitive viewers. With a runtime just hitting the ninety-minute mark, the first act quickly establishes the necessary relationships and jumps straight into the truly despicable.
PIGGY plays with moral concepts of revenge and forgiveness. Would you help someone who mistreats you every single day? Constant bullying, disrespectful behaviour, condescending interactions; all with absolutely no purpose beyond hurting your physical and emotional well-being? In the film, the approach to the lead protagonist ‘Sara’ feels frighteningly grounded and realistic. However, the “romantic” storyline between her and the introduced mysterious stranger is more distracting than interesting; affecting the overall narrative balance during some moments. Obviously, self-acceptance is also a significant theme throughout the film, but it surprisingly takes a backseat in the context of the overarching story.
The atmosphere surrounding PIGGY could have been more engaging. Technically, the cinematography possesses clear points of improvement that could have offered the film a more gripping environment; instead of matching the pastiche of televised soap opera. In addition, Pereda chooses to limit her dialogue. This directional and screenwriting choice doesn’t particularly hurt the film, but it really feels that a couple of powerful lines about the subject matter would have transmitted an even more impactful message. Despite these few minor issues, Laura Galán delivers an unforgettable, raw, courageous, and committed performance that makes the majority of A-List Hollywood actors look like amateurs.
Carlota Pereda takes advantage of the terrific lead performance from Laura Galán and delivers a shocking, violent, and frighteningly grounded story about bullying, fat-shaming, and self-acceptance. Despite taking a more revenge-driven approach, the film beautifully develops the moral concepts at hand. The misconstrued romantic subplot doesn’t necessarily work, and the film would have benefited from a stronger atmosphere. Still, PIGGY is a gruesome must-watch.