An adaptation of Ryu Mirakami’s novel, Piercing follows Abbott’s crazed protagonist who plans on murdering an unsuspecting call girl at a hotel. Unfortunately for him, he becomes allured by the mysterious woman who shows up (Wasikowska), which starts a dangerous game of chance and chase.
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Alternately alluring and repellent, Nicolas Pesce’s Piercing is designed to get under your skin. . . . It’s a gorgeous meet-cute flick — it’s just that the two cuties meeting cutely happen to be two deeply twisted weirdos.
It's as if Pesce didn't watch any mid-century genre films and only contemporary postmodernist imitations of mid-century genre films and decided to imitate *those* instead? In less than ten years we've arrived at filmmakers imitating the imitators, using split screen and all-too-familiar Goblin tracks without a single thought as to WHY. Tenfold derivative cinema. Zzzzzzz...
Stylized to within an inch of its life, Pesce's rigorously formalist oddity is at heart an S&M romantic comedy somewhere in between Argento, Kaufman, Lynch, Miike and Noé; the form is so lavish that the content all but disappears, though.
Above all it is evident that Pesce is more interested in style and aesthetics than presenting a narrative and characters that makes sense. Despite all the retro vibes and musical magpieing Pesce cannot make us care or believe in the people who live in his cinematic world. Abbott and Wasikowska are fine actors and do their best with unrelatable characters whose motivations are non-existent but it is not enough. Avoid!
Piercing is non-existent in clear character background and psychology, while its inclusion would garner needed specificity to propel its plot forward and make it interesting. It has no rhythm or emotional depth for its happenings. Furthermore, its minimalist and withholding approach makes its uniqueness spring out of its easy-wink of comical absurdity, but not its heart.
After ruining Fado forever with his debut, Pesce is after bossa nova with his sophomore effort, an adaptation of a flawed novel by Ryu Murakami. Piercing is no Audition: the prey-turned-predator cliché has run its course. Boredom quickly ensues. In a desperate attempt to deliver "something" shocking, Pesce uses disparate sources, quoting Argento, plagiarizing De Palma, mocking Lynch. The operative word is desperate.
It could've been perfect if only the revenge part for both protagonist is fairly written. Re-constructing Audition is already brilliant idea, so sad to know the whole execution (especially the third act) is being shown plain, can't even describe it as a "climax".
Piercing's best scenes:
1. A split screen scene from a Brian De Palma movie with Profondo Rosso Theme.
2. A tracking shot in the final which is from a Dario Argento movie with Tenebre Theme.
Long live old boys!