‘Piercing’ Review 4/5 STARS *SUNDANCE PREM*

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Nicolas Pesce’s black comedy about two tantalizingly insane individuals is a blast to watch – that is, if you can handle feeling like you could be arrested for aiding and abetting. Piercing pushes us into the life of Reed (Christopher Abbott), a psychopath who camouflages well as a family man.

In hopes of calming his urge to murder his newborn baby, whose under the eye of his loving and oblivious wife (Laia Costa), Reed checks into a hotel for a “business trip”. While sitting on the hotel bed with a pen and small red notebook, he formulates a plan to murder an unsuspecting call girl.

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One of the preeminent scenes in the film is when Reed runs through the entire murder like his very own stage rehearsal. We follow Reed’s gripping small talk to his invisible victim, a stabbing sequence with an ice pick, and him dragging the impalpable body to the bathroom… while he drains/dismembers what will soon be his future casualty – All done with imaginable choreography and highly surreal sound design.

From the thump of a lifeless body being dragged to the spewing droplets of blood via a cut throat, it is a beauty to behold (Promise you, I am not a serial killer). From that very succession alone, I knew we were in for a very different kind of storytelling experience.

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It only makes sense for a film with such an unconventional thriller outline – To have things not go according to plan once Jackie (Mia Wasikowska) saunters into Reed’s life. Her moods are the equivalent to that of a traffic light, while her self-harming ways are indeed…disturbing, but my, is she absolutely bewitching.

The fucked up relationship that ensues is summoned by shifts in power which see-saws between Reed and Jackie as quick as one can unlock their phone. The darkness in Reed’s mind comes to surface early on… and is certainly not for the faint of hearts, as the film assembles copious amounts of terrifying moments. Still though, you come to vastly appreciate how incredible it all looks whilst making you feel as if you may be arrested for co-conspiracy.

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A change in setting also helps symbolize the constant shifts in power – Also demonstrating both of their opportunities for a way out, even though they never capitalized when given the chance. The reason being?  Both characters want to hurt and be hurt, but pain has to end sometime… or does it?

By Amanda Nova
amesquilin@gmail.com
IG: @filmyanimal

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