Piercing concerns a troubled family man driven to seek out a stranger to fulfill a dark desire. But like Roger Ebert said, “It’s not what a film is about, but how it is about it.”
This one surprised me. I expected a grim horror film but discovered an inventive psychological thriller marrying Brian De Palma’s visual style with Quentin Tarantino’s retro sensibilities. The opening titles, set to Stelvio’s Cipriani’s excellent-but-obscure “Too Risky a Day for a Regatta” from 1977’s Tentacles, proved the first clue. The split-screen meeting of the film’s leads, set to Goblin’s theme from Deep Red, hammered the point home.
Pesce pulls this off with astounding confidence. He walks the tightrope tone with apparent east. Every frame feels intentional, and the lean 81-minute run time means he wasn’t afraid to murder his darlings. I bought everything the leads were selling, especially Wasikowska, whose part seems near-impossible on paper.
Sure, the ending lacks the punch I’d hoped for, but it’ll do.