Lots of Spoilers Ahead …

The King of the Pigs (Dwaejiui Wang) is a South Korean animated drama, that focuses on two characters, Hwang Kyung-min and Jung Jong-suk. They have reunited after not seeing each other for years, and begin to reminisce about their school days, and a particular friend, Kim Chul.

We are aware from the very beginning that the minds of at least one of these men is disturbed, as the movie begins with showing us Kyung-Mins murdered wife (the murder obviously committed by himself) and Kyung-Min himself hallucinating a boy with a pig head. We later realise that the hallucinated boy is supposed to be Kim Chul, the reasoning becoming disturbingly apparent as the movie progresses.

The movies whole atmosphere was incredibly jarring, intensified by the jilted movements of the characters due to the peculiar 3dish animated style. I found myself feeling incredibly disturbed by the portrayal of the bullying happening in the school, which ranged from perverse to outrightly nearly beating somebody to death. There was a strong emphasis on money being the source of power, and the difference between the ‘Dogs’ and ‘Pigs’. The pigs believe to live happy to grow fat and have money, but they are merely being fattened to eventually feed the dogs. It seemed to me that they were using this nightmarish school setting to make a comment on the whole state of the hierarchy in life.

The symbolism in the words used is reinforced by the hallucinations of the characters during the movie.

Throughout the whole movie, we are made to believe that Kim-Chul is a twisted sociopath, responding to the bullies and ‘leaders’ of the school hierarchy with violence. He convinces Kyung-min and Jong-Suk to be his friends, and then makes them kill a cat. He tells them that to fight the evil you must become a monster. You cannot befriend them.

When he is expelled, he hatches a plan to commit suicide in front of the whole school so the bullies ‘can never look back at these days and smile’

What we eventually discover however is that this boy, though disturbed, eventually makes a life-changing decision about his life, and chooses to try and work towards a better future with his mother. He decides not to throw himself off the building, and merely intends to pretend he will until people come up to get him down. Yet we still see him fall and die.

This is when we discover that Jong-Suk pushed him off the building in a fit of rage, believing he had to do it, he had to ‘become the monster’, otherwise nothing would change. The only person to see this is Kyung-min, who never says a word.

This is where I become confused about the intended message of this movie, and wonder whether something got lost in translation.

Jong-suk murdered somebody when he was a boy, and we see him beat up his other half before going to meet Kyung-min, who has murdered his wife. Neither of these two boys are nice people, and Kyung Min throws himself off the same building as Kim-Chul, in front of Jong-suk, because his business has failed.

What is the moral here? That money is all that is important? Kim-chul seemed the most human out of all three of them but he was murdered by Jong-suk, who we see at the end sobbing down the phone to his other half begging for forgiveness. Does it take one friends murder and another friends suicide for him to come to his senses?

Overall, I didn’t like the animation style, as I found it jumpy and unrealistic, and I struggled to find any moral to the story. The story itself is thought provoking, though disturbing and uncomfortable at times, it just seems that their is no real ending. Though, perhaps, that was the whole point all along, I just didn’t particularly like it.

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