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Pearls Before Swine – Richard Wolstencroft (1999)

This film had been on my wishlist for over a decade. Every once in a while I would see if I could find it. A while ago I found it cheaply at Amazon. The DVD release seems to be from 2005 so I wonder if it just recently came into distribution or if I never paid enough attention.

The box compares the film to “A Clockwork Orange”, but to me it seems to fit perfectly in the “new violence” wave of films started by Quentin Tarantino and co. It contains brutal and meaningless violence and lengthy dialogues and monologues The director said that he had been toying with the idea for the film since 1994/5 and I can hardly imagine that “Pulp Fiction” (1994) has not been one of its sources of inspiration. He does state that he did not want to make a Hollywood or Australian film though and in a way Tarantino presented something new as well.

This film is of course best known for containing people from controversial music scenes. Boy Rice (NON) plays the main part. There is also Douglas P. (Death In June), but you may see other familiar names and faces. Wolstencroft even managed to get filmmaker Kenneth Anger for the film, but he had other occupations around the time of shooting the film, so he had to decline. People familiar with the scene that Rice and P. come from will hear some familiar tunes in the soundtrack too by the way.

There is not too much of a story to the film. A group of contract killers (or are they killers for pleasure) first kill a group of homeless youngsters and two of them are then hired to kill a writer. We mostly follow Daniel (Rice) showing a decadent lifestyle with S&M and intelligent sounding monologues and dialogues about (counter)culture, philosophy, politics, etc. In a way it seems that the film mostly revolves around these controversial scenes and almost two decades after the release of the film most is no longer really controversial than perhaps Daniel’s ideas about things.

Wolstencroft wanted to make an ‘un-Hollywood’ movie, but it is hard to not make comparisons. The acting is not always too strong and the same I can say about the camera work and montage. Still there are some very descent scenes here and there. It is not like this is a completely amateurish film. It is one of these films to just watch some time when you wonder what the controversy is about and discover that in a couple of decades nothing much of it is left. “Pearls Before Swine” is not a high flyer, but an amusing watch with a couple of uneasy scenes.

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