Screened as part of NZIFF 2018

Piercing 2018

Directed by Nicolas Pesce Incredibly Strange

Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother) directs Christopher Abbott and Mia Wasikowska in this stylish, fiendishly audacious murder ballet. Based on Murakami Ryu’s cult novel.

USA In English
81 minutes DCP



Josh Mond
Antonio Campos
Schuyler Weiss
Jacob Wasserman


Nicolas Pesce. Based on the novel by Murakami Ryu


Zachary Galler


Sofía Subercaseaux

Production designer

Alan Lampert

Costume designer

Whitney Anne Adams


Christopher Abbott (Reed)
Mia Wasikowska (Jackie)
Laia Costa (Mona)
Marin Ireland (Reed’s mother)
Maria Dizzia (Chevonne)
Wendell Pierce (doctor)


Edinburgh 2018

Gorgeously adapted from the novel by iconic Japanese writer Murakami Ryu, Piercing centres on handsome Reed (Christopher Abbott), a husband and father afflicted by a troubling preoccupation to impale his baby with an ice pick…

Okay, stop right there. I realise that many may want to skip ahead, but please don’t. This is a black comedy. Very black and very grisly, with a brilliantly sustained comedic provocation that lasts right up until its sumptuous blood-drenched climax.

Following Nicolas Pesce’s stunning debut film The Eyes of My Mother, this psycho-sexual two-hander begins with Reed miming his dark impulses – a funny scene of rehearsal where he acts out every meticulous movement in a planned murder. However, his target, call girl Jackie (Mia Wasikowska), turns out to be much more of a willing participant in his sadistic fetishism than he ever bargained for.

Pesce dresses the luridness in a showy style, like an off-kilter hipster installation replete with reality-smashing miniatures, aural (Argento) and visual (De Palma) retro-aestheticism, and the starkly erotic interior design of euro-thrillers. Cast in coolly contrasting monochromatics and richly sensual reds, this exquisite array of sanguine B-movie thrills comes from über-on-point collective BorderLine Films, whose mandate of supporting original voices has produced such modern classics as Afterschool, Simon Killer and Martha Marcy May Marlene. It’s all executed by a director with a deep knowledge of cinema, an idiosyncratic vision and an outstanding collection of ice picks, bondage gear, ropes, razorblades and flesh-eating beetles. — AT