The King of Pigs is a Korean animation that makes a statement about society that extends around the world. Anyone who has a passing memory of their school life will find something to relate to in this film.
In terms of plot the film centres on a meeting of two childhood friends who meet for the first time since leaving education. Over drinks they reminisce about their school days and the action flashes back to their time in education. Being the ‘pigs’ at school means they get relentlessly bullied and treated with no respect, until the arrival of their new friend Chul who stands up to the bullies and attempts to redress the balance.
The choice to use animation is an interesting one as there is little on display here that could not have been achieved by the use of live action. However once the pig and dog imagery comes into play the animated medium makes more sense. The imagery and scenes of people’s heads turning into animals looks fantastic and the film keeps its desired impact throughout simply because these visual flourishes are sparingly used.
Another benefit that the animated format gives is that the filmmakers can commit a greater level of violence to screen that wouldn’t have got past the censors if this had been a live action production. That’s not to say these scenes have any less of an impact; they hit just as hard as any live action footage. Like the imagery mentioned above, it’s another example of the less is more approach really paying off.
Visually the film is striking as it carves its own identity, unlike a lot of other similar animation The King Of Pigs does not simply try to emulate the Japanese style of animation, it has a distinctive look all of its own.
Overall it’s a powerful film with a great twist in the tale that transcends its animated roots and is a moving drama in its own right.
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