November 26, 2018

GENRE | Christopher Abbott Takes A 'Piercing' x Rio Grind

"Can we eat first?"
Christopher Abbott Mia Wasikowska Nicolas Pesce | Piercing | Rio Grind Film Festival 2018

The Eyes of My Mother director Nicolas Pesce takes on some disturbing S&M horror/comedy material for his second feature based on the novel by Japanese author Ryū Murakami's novel. Piercing is a truly daring piece of work about sexual violence. Sufficed to say, there are no trigger warnings strong enough to prepare you for the explicit depiction of trauma in the film.

Starring Christopher Abbott and Mia Wasikowska as a nondescript businessman (think polite psychopath) and his mysterious escort, Piercing employs some very precise set design and theatrically blocked choreography to present an intensely psychological portrait of sexual trauma. Using some twisted dark comedy elements to subvert the biting tension, Pesce's assured hand creates an entirely unnerving but deeply engrossing character study.

Both Abbott and Wasikowska deliver a pair of deviously unstable yet delightful performances seesawing the dramatic sexual tension flawlessly. Full of Italian giallo horror film references, the unspecified but clearly seventies influences permeate the film's constant sense of erotic fright.

A truly audacious adaptation, Piercing is meticulously acted and choreographed to maximize its dramatic tension that's transformed into a mixture of sexual terror and excitement. Pesce's slow-moving direction and crisp retro cinematic style demand even more exploration. Its stylish tale of planned murder gone wrong certainly cuts deep.

Piercing screened as part of the 2018 Rio Grind Film Festival at the Rio Theatre.


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