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Case Number 27123

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Kino Lorber // 2011 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Alice Nelson // March 23rd, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge Alice Nelson wishes someone could mind-wipe that night back in 1997.

The Charge

He's been through the desert with no horse and no name.

Facts of the Case

A man (Rudolf Martin, Swordfish) wakes up in the desert with a bag over his head, hands tied behind his back, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. After being rescued by a mysterious woman named Isabel (Heather Ankeny, Pants on Fire), The Man is convinced the name he found scribbled on a piece of paper in his pocket is a clue to his true identity. But as he begins searching for answers to his past, The Man soon realizes there are powerful forces working to make sure he never uncovers the truth.

The Evidence

What are we without our memories? Lost really, and that's what Rudolf Martin's character in Pig would tell you. Written and directed by Henry Barrial (True Love), this Memento-esque adventure may not be as good as Christopher Nolan's, but delivers on its own merit. This non-linear story keeps the viewer guessing until a surprising reveal at the end turns a mystery into a science fiction tale.

After The Man decides to search for his true identity, the film shifts to a more hectic style, jumping back and forth between present day and memories past. Any time he gets too close to the truth, he's abducted and placed back in the desert with no memory of the last time he was in the same position. It's as if someone is playing a sadistic game, allowing him to get only so close. This happens at least half dozen times, and each time some aspect of the experience is slightly different. The only constant is The Man's desire to discover the truth. No matter how many times his memory is erased, his experiences are so powerful they keep fighting to come to the surface.

Rudolph Martin's performance is fantastic, as a man stuck somewhere between confusion and blind determination. He's also surrounded by a wonderful supporting cast, including Ankeny as Isabel, the mystery woman who just so happens to find and take him into her home; Keith Diamond (Awakenings) as Manny, who claims to be an old friend; Steve Tom (Seven Pounds) as a strange doctor Isabel calls when she first brings The Man home; and Ines Dali as Anouk who once dated The Man, and whose unexpected appearance throws a serious wrench into the plans of those behind this elaborate conspiracy.

Pig is not a great film. The script could've been tighter in some areas, especially the second act where things get bogged down. Some of the time jumps are clumsy and add to the confusion, but even with a few missteps Pig is worth watching.

Presented in standard def 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture is sharp and the colors vibrant, especially in the hot sun of the Arizona desert. The Dolby 5.1 audio makes the dialogue easy to hear (what little there is of it) and Rudolf's wordless performance gets across what's going on inside this very confused man. Bonus features include too many deleted scenes, as if Barrial wanted us to see every scene he had to leave on the cutting room floor (and in this case, less is most certainly more). We also get a director's commentary, a Kickstarter presentation that explains how the project was financed, a Nashville Film Festival Q&A session, the theatrical trailer, and a clever pre-release YouTube featurette in which the The Man asks the public for any information that might lead to his true identity.

Closing Statement

Good or bad, our memories are an integral part of who we are. Pig shows us that, even if we had the ability to erase our most painful experiences, they are too powerful to be expunged, and we will seek to get them back at all costs.

The Verdict

Not Guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 79
Acting: 90
Story: 82
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Kino Lorber
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• None
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Drama
• Mystery
• Science Fiction

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Featurettes
• Trailer


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