Dec 6, 2018
Krunchyman (All reviews)
Life, often times, is a disconsolate, oppressive journey with enough melancholic moments to make one want to kill their wife (or a creepy cat, who torments you ad nauseam).

“The King of the Pigs” is a gripping allegorical tale about class/wealth inequality and the dehumanizing aspect of school aged bullying; not only for those who are bullied, but for the instigators themselves (because of their internal hierarchical structure). Chan Young, a bright new student, exemplifies this dehumanization when his enthusiasm for school related excellence wanes, due to the callous nature of the imperious “dogs.” The obedience of the other “pigs” is quite evident, as their resolve to combat their oppressors is noticeably absent; except for one rebellious soul — Chul “The King of the Pigs” Kim — who aims to alter the contemporary paradigm through a series of aggressive assaults against the tyrannical rulers of the classroom.

Yeon Sang-ho, director of the work in question, drowns his characters in unremitting gloom, never giving the viewer a chance to catch their breath, as he yanks you deeper into his ocean of despair. It is a welcomed experience that far too few directors are willing to accommodate; yet, life, even for those trapped in misery, still contains moments of intermittent joy, an emotion that seems foreign to Mr. Sang-ho. An injection of happiness, every once in a while, would have provided a nice contrasting effect for the viewer (as the characters would resonate with greater effect). Also, the hallucinations of the tortured cat were a bit heavy-handed, bordering on absurd. Nightmarish illusions should, in most cases, be used sparingly; otherwise, the effect will lose its potency and be rendered completely useless.

Furthermore, due to the incessant need to portray life as pure hopelessness, the ending became a contrived mishmash of violence and rage. With those deficiencies in mind, however, “The King of Pigs” is still an impressive film with a plethora of useful insights on the dynamics of societal hierarchies and the ruthlessness of life, from beginning to end.