Directed by Kirsten Sheridan, starring Cillian Murphy and Elaine Cassidy.
It's been a good year for Irish cinema talent. Colin Farrell making his US breakthrough in 'Tigerland', two fine romantic comedies in the form of 'About Adam' and 'When Brendan Met Trudy' and now 'Disco Pigs', where the trio of Kirsten Sheridan, Cillian Murphy and Elaine Cassidy help bring Enda Walsh's acclaimed play to the big screen and create one of the most moving and original films in quite some time.
With the southern capital transformed into Pork City, the film follows the relationship between Pig (Murphy, reprising his breakthrough stage role) and Runt (Cassidy), friends since birth (on the same day) who have constructed their own language and world which orbits everyday life. As they edge closer to 17, the bond between the duo suffers its sternest test yet when Runt is taken away to a special school in a bid to give her the independence she has never known. But as Runt tries to move on, Pig cannot accept that she is growing both up and away and wants more from her than just friendship.
Kirsten Sheridan could have chosen a simpler film for her feature length debut but she could not have made a braver choice. Taking Enda Walsh's screenplay of his own stage work, she's created a wide-eyed look at the nature of friendship and love and how they intersect with obsession and aggression when things fall apart. Trimming back on certain aspects of the stage play while fattening up others, the film transcends its theatrical origins to become a standalone experience in its own right – an aficionado of the play is in no better position to appreciate what's onscreen than a new arrival.
The film now boasts a heartwarming/harrowing subplot involving primary school Pig and Runt and also explores Runt's development as a person when she moves away, in both miles and moods, from Pig. The verbal bombardment of the play has been toned down and replaced by Sheridan's dreamy visual style (where sunlight and strobes illustrate the change in the characters' moods), which says more about the dynamic between her central duo in a couple of frames than pages of dialogue could hope to accomplish.
Both Murphy and Cassidy are great in the lead roles, he adding more unpredictability and menace to his angry young man with Cassidy making Runt a softer, more understanding (lost) soulmate. As Pig acts out everything that comes into his head, Runt takes it all in and its is this standoff between deed and thought which ultimately brings the film to its tragic yet liberating conclusion.
For years in this country it seemed there were very few films that spoke directly to young people and their interpretation of the world they inherited. This film does it with style and heart and deserves to be remembered long after the house lights have gone up.