Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Pearls Before Swine|
Actor: Nicholas Crawford-Smith
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Pearls Before Swine is here on DVD. What is Pearls Before Swine? Is it a controversial and iconoclastic look at the rise of a new form of fascism? The new film from Aussie director Richard Wolstencroft of Bloodlust fame? ... more »
Be under no illusions about this
Brett Fan | California | 07/27/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is an odd one.
First of all, be aware: from a purely technical point of view, this is NOT a good film. It is low-budget and some of the production values, and indeed some of the actors, are terrible. There are also problems with storytelling: whole scenes are devoted to spewing ideas out, rather than actual drama. I'll get to that.
The film starts well - a very strong pre-credits sequence promises much.
In some ways, experimental musician Boyd Rice is a good choice to play the lead character, a black trenchcoat wearing pseudo-hitman who dabbles in hedonistic partying and in spouting extreme philosophy.
Though his acting skill is limited, Rice has the well-groomed appearance, blank stare and vaguely toned physique that suggests a narcissistic, amoral, man-about-town 'artiste' in his late 30s. He comes across a little like a goth Patrick Bateman, if you will. An effect I found quite enjoyable, despite Rice's occasional unnerving physical resemblance to Dan Aykroyd.
Rice features all the way through this movie and many scenes are also scored with his music, including the excellent title sequence.
It is also fun to see him interact in a scene with Douglas P from the band Death In June. As well as a full scene with Rice, Douglas P also has another brief, but memorable moment very early in the film.
So, if you are interested in these musicians and this area of modern music, the film, despite it's faults, is undoubtedly fascinating. There are a couple of genuinely funny character moments - a crack at McDonalds and scene involving watching Dr Who spring to mind. There is also a kind of behind-the-scenes bonus feature that consists entirely of huge stretches of video footage taken during the filming and shunted together. Some interesting stuff is to be found there, but the fast-forward button becomes useful.
Now to the content, and those faults. There are at least some IDEAS in this movie. Strip away the feeble 'hitman' plot and the director Richard Wolstencroft is obviously using his characters as a vehicle for his philosophy and worldview. That in itself, is commendable. So few films have anything real to say. The film's last scene is very powerful, and the final dialogue line is truly chilling. It is Rice's finest acting moment, for sure.
But be under no illusions: this movie is made by a fascist and stars a fascist.
They both have admitted this explicitly - Boyd Rice in a quote on Wikipedia, and Wolstencroft in an essay that comes with the DVD.
Lines of dialogue such as: "oppression is the opium of the masses - people genuinely seem to get off on it", are just the tip of the iceberg. They will leave you in no doubt about their beliefs about society and `social cleansing'. Whole chunks of dialogue are devoted to this message throughout. A telling moment even occurs during the otherwise innocuous DVD audio commentary. During a scene where Rice's character watches footage of Hitler and strongly praises the aesthetics of the Nazis, Wolstencroft says: "care to comment on this scene, Boyd?". After a pause, Rice simply replies "I think it speaks for itself.".
No... it doesn't. This is exactly the example of a scene that needs comment. This is a cop-out.
Pearls Before Swine is trying to be, as the DVD box says, "beyond good and evil". Nothing wrong with that - and I have to say that certainly it provides the frisson of excitement that comes with watching truly transgressive cinema. I enjoy that sort of feeling watching films and I know others do. I can appreciate being transported to a different, and indeed dangerous, mind-set by a piece of art. So for that reason, I am fine with this strange B-Movie existing. But if, like many people, you find the ideas buried in this film ultimately unpleasant, then you will leave it feeling a little queasy. Glad that you visited, glad that you left. Make of that what you will."
A Clockwork Orange wannabe...
Juliet Taylor | USA | 05/02/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"...with poor sound quality, and very poor acting at times. The scene styles jump around too much, trying to show too many artistic styles. Selling body parts..drugs... heroine chic disco... attempts at being controversial by questioning the holocaust, mentioning violence and censorship. Don't have your characters read it, make the viewer FEEL it! These "speeches" were unpassionate and felt very scripted. There were some good scenes, don't get me wrong, but there wasn't enough flow. Some domination and sex scenes(a plus in My book), but I think they ran out of things to say towards the end and used sex to make the rest of the movie more interesting."
It's wild, wild!
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 02/07/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Pearls Before Swine (Richard Wolstencroft, 1999)
Wolstencroft's almost-legendary (if you move in certain circles) Pearls Before Swine is not a movie so much as it is a polemic, a NON album with accompanying visuals. As the film stars NON frontman Boyd Rice, this is not exactly a surprise, nor is Wolstencroft (who also wrote the screenplay)'s choice to cast Rice; Wolstencroft is playing with the idea of fascism here as part of the idea of transgression. And the movie's biggest problem, honestly, is that it tries so damned hard to be transgressive that it never quite succeeds--at this or anything else.
Rice plays Danny, a hitman and general strongarm, who often works with compatriots Paul (Love and Other Catastrophes' Nick Crawford-Smith) and Edward (Snuff Kill's Greg Maxwell) when he's not pursuing various hedonist activities involving sex, drugs, and really fine music (the bits that aren't NON are Snog and Death in June). One day, Danny becomes aware of the work of a new underground writer named Morton Bugs, and it appeals greatly to him; meanwhile, Danny and Paul have just received a new, and very lucrative, contract. The target? Morton Bugs. This puts Danny into rather a dilemma. (Or does it?)
While the movie is quite watchable, especially if you're a fan of the bands whose members are involved in it, there's not actually much going on here. The philosophy that the movie stops its plot to spout every few minutes is likely to be preaching to the choir, and none of the activities in which anyone in the film engages is really all the transgressive these days, are they? Maybe if you'd made this in the sixties... no one involved is all that good an actor, which makes the anemic performances of Rice and Death in June frontman Douglas Pearce stand out even farther than they normally would; if you're remarkably bad in a film where the average level is so low, that's really saying something. But for all that, Wolstencroft has shot himself a very pretty movie here, so if you can get past the godawful acting and even worse special effects, it's not an entirely awful piece of work.
I don't regret buying it, but I can't honestly recommend you doing the same unless you're as much a fanatic of NON and Death in June as I am. And if so, given that it's been available on DVD for a few years, those of you who fit that description probably already have. **
Greg Maxwell was a genius
Waynes World 450 | Florida, USA | 12/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"His vitriolic domination of all who opposed him was juxtaposed against his keen sense of humor and impeccable comedic timing. His Pearls were to Fleas as slop is to Swine, sustenance for the few who get it, and vomitus to those who did not (BW)."