- 1 hr 21 min
Piercing is a dark and twisted thriller film that premiered in 2018 with its lead actors being Christopher Abbott, Laia Costa, and Mia Wasikowska. The movie was directed by Nicolas Pesce and based on Ryu Murakami's book with the same name. The movie begins with Reed (Christopher Abbott) prepping himself for a business trip, but as he kisses his wife and child goodbye, it is evident something is deeply troubling him. As he heads to the airport and reaches his destination, we soon discover that his dark thoughts are not suicidal, as we first guessed but rather a completely different type of compulsion. Reed checks in at an upscale hotel and calls an escort service to hire a prostitute for the evening. He has some strange and disturbing notions about how this encounter must look, and it's clear that he's done this many times. Reed frames the meeting as a cut-and-dry business transaction but realizes that he has chosen the wrong girl. Jackie, (Laia Costa), a fiery and inexperienced girl, is very new to this game and does not at all seem like the right fit for what Reed has in mind. The opening may sound like a standard noir opening, but within minutes Pesce lets you know it's something else. Almost immediately, in a directorial choice that doubles as pretty effective advertising, the edges of the film's action begin to peel away. Reed drops a razor blade in his suit pocket, unaware that he's being tracked on his smartphone by his wife. Meanwhile, Jackie spends the night in her tiny apartment with her child; she talks to the little guy about how he's playing, just before she leaves him with the babysitter and goes to work. The film and its soundtrack begin to wobble into a weird, near-pathological haze. The central performances feel coiled and deliberate; Abbott is a mutant gentility, almost aristocratic, while Costa finds an alarming level of anger and sadness in the idea of a sex worker who, by her own admission, "cannot be fucked." After they meet, things start to take unexpected turns, as Reed's initial idea was to kill the escort girl, while she's so naive, she cannot at all detect his intentions. The movie is a twisted, weird, and uncomfortable experience, but it is also engaging to watch: its outrage and lacerating wit and the sense of a rapidly fraying psyche all work in its favor. The movie creates a tense situation, and it doesn't let go, but instead, it tightens up every minute, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere. It's a truly intense movie, one that gets under your skin, but at the same time, it's impossible to peel your eyes off from the screen. Piercing is not a movie for everyone's taste, but it certainly had fans among critics that praised how the film made them feel like "an active participant in a discomfiting, sensual experience" and acknowledged that it had brought "a sick and sordid pleasure" to the viewer's keen eyes. In the end, Piercing is a deeply unsettling and intense experience that will keep you at the edge of your seat throughout its entire runtime. With solid direction, and even better performances from Christopher Abbott and Laia Costa, this film is one of the more unique and well-executed horror-thrillers of recent years. Although it may leave you disturbed and questioning yourself, it is definitely a movie worth watching.