Piercing / Do-Si-Dos

After my last review of Housewife, I was hoping my next movie selection wouldn't be as mind-bending and leave me scratching my head in confusion. I had a few I've been wanting to check out and ultimately decided on Piercing from director Nicolas Pesce. Being a huge fan of his directorial debut, In the Eyes of My Mother, I was excited to check out what type of twisted tale he'd tackle for his sophomore effort. Little did I know that it would leave me with so many unanswered questions by the time the credits rolled. So much for not scratching my head!

Now that the movie selection was nailed down, I had to select a strain for the evening. I'd been holding on to one last nug of Do-Si-Dos and decided tonight was the night to grind that baby down. Probably in my top 10 favorite strains, Do-Si-Dos are a cross between Girl Scout Cookies and Face Off OG. This strain consistently delivers a feeling of euphoria with intense couch-lock.

The last time I reviewed a movie on this strain I actually passed out midway though. So this time, I packed a relatively modest bowl to ensure I'd be able to stay awake until the end of the movie. Even with the decreased dosage, I could immediately feel my body slipping into a comfortably numb state within 5 minutes. This strain hits fast, and it hits strong.

I finished my bedtime ritual and slipped into bed where the movie was already prepped and ready to play. I pressed play and sunk into the mattress, eyes glazed, body floating, and completely focused on the experience to come.

Piercing stars Christopher Abbott (It Comes at Night) and Mia Wasakowska (Stoker, Crimson Peak) as the two main antagonist, Reed and Jackie. And yes, you read that correctly. Just like In the Eyes of My Mother, Nicolas has delivered a story without any protagonist; instead opting for characters that are deeply troubled and without a moral compass. The movie begin by introducing the audience to Reed, a man whose wife just gave birth to their first son. Now I'm not sure if this is accurate, but the impression I got was that he wanted to murder his son with an icepick. Why? I have no idea. That's just one of the many questions that are left unanswered. Realizing that would obviously be bad idea, he decides to satiate his desire by arranging to murder a prostitute in a hotel room instead. Perfectly sensible, right? I guess, when the alternative is stabbing your newborn baby to death. And that pretty much sums up the WTF nature that this movie lays out right from the start.

By the time Reed arrives at the hotel and checks into his room, the effects of Do-Si-Dos really start to punch up. My breathing slowed way down and I found myself unable to move. My body had become a shell and I was simply floating within it. In a euphoric daze, I watched the screen as if it was a portal to a world that existed in another dimension. I was gone and it felt magical.
I found myself unable to move. My body had become a shell and I was simply floating within it.
The thing is, no matter how stripped down and bare-bones Piercing is, the movie drips with so much style and beautifully framed cinematography that I couldn't pull my eyes away. Mia Wasakowska and Christopher Abbott fully embrace their roles and convey convincing performances as two equally deranged psychopaths. I especially enjoyed a scene where Reed acts out the exact sequence of events he's planning to carry out once the prostitute arrives. The scene is effect not only because of the amount of premeditation that's considered, but subjectively impressive because it perfectly sets up the rest of the film and how Reed's plan doesn't play out as... well... as he planned. Furthermore, the way that Nicolas has chosen to illustrate this sequence is like a choreographed dance. I'm not totally certain that my intoxicated state didn't contribute, but I thought it was brilliantly executed.

Needless to say, Reed’s plan to kill Jackie fails miserably. Unbeknownst to Reed, Jackie is, just as mentally damaged as Reed. In fact, I'd argue that she's even more unhinged. There are scenes in which Jackie subjects herself to some pretty gruesome self-harm. I may be reading too much into the character, but my takeaway was that Jackie's choice of profession wasn't random. Instead, her desire for acceptance drove her to prostitution. What comes next is a psychotic romances between two deeply troubled individuals. Which leads me to Piercing's anticlimactic end. The movie literally ends with both characters in the middle of conversation. There's no resolution. There's literally no proper ending. Nicholas leaves the audience with a big middle finger requiring them to come up with an ending of their own.

As the credits rolled I wondered if Reed would be able to successfully kill Jackie. Or maybe (and more likely) would Jackie kill Reed? Then again, there was an obvious sexual tension between the two, so maybe Reed left his wife and newborn child to be with Jackie. I don't have any answers, and the movie obviously doesn't provide any.

But despite it all, I loved this movie. It's stylish, bold, different, expertly directed and acted. Would I have appreciated a "proper" ending that ties up all the loose ends and presents a conclusion that's either uplifting or depressing? Sure. But in the end, the sum of it's parts more than makes up for the ambiguous end.

How about you? Have you watched Piercing or tried Do-Si-Dos? What are your thoughts? Did you have a similar experience? Please leave a comment and let me know. And of course, don't forget to follow Bloody High on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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