Title: Pork Pie (Fantasia 2017)

Also known as:

Year: 2017

Genre: Comedy / Crime / Romance

Language: English

Runtime: 105 min

Director: Matt Murphy

Writer: Matt Murphy

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4834220/

Jon, an aimless novelist, decides he needs to speak with his ex-fiancée at their mutual friend’s wedding. Along the way, Jon crosses path with Luke — a young man on the run after stealing a Mini Cooper. Jon inadvertently ends up joining Luke on his getaway after a small run-in with the police. Now the two are traveling across New Zealand and are shortly joined up with Kiera, an animal activist. Together, the three of them become folk-heroes of sorts as they evade the law to try and get Jon back together with his ex.

Our thoughts:
It's not something cinephiles like to admit but I have lots of little holes in my film repertoire. I’ve seen a few films here and there, certainly, but I know nothing about New Zealand’s extensive cinematic history. Because of that, I’m sure it’s shameful that the name “Goodbye Pork Pie” meant nothing to me. So going into Fantasia International Film Festival’s screening of “Pork Pie”, it was interesting to discover that it was a remake of the country’s first big hit (as far as my understanding goes). What made it especially interesting was that the remake was helmed by Matt Murphy, son of Geoff Murphy — the director of “Goodbye Pork Pie”.

The one advantage I had with being ignorant about “Goodbye Pork Pie” is that it allowed me to go into the movie without a bias. Unlike some of the other films that I watched at Fantasia, I at least knew what the premise for “Pork Pie” was. A cross-country high speed chase with three good-looking people who unwittingly become criminals and folk-heroes of sorts. It’s not the most exciting of plots as we’ve seen it many times before. Then again, these movies are about two things: characters and car chases.

And those are two things that “Pork Pie” gets right. In general I do find it hard to be critical of the film because it is a rather lighthearted affair. It’s a movie that’s going strictly for entertainment — it wants the audience to have as much fun as the characters are as they run from the law. They achieve this by preventing there from being any actual antagonists within the film. The threat doesn’t come from someone setting them up or a corrupt cop trying to frame them. The threat is that they might get caught and not see their individual arcs through to the end. It’s exactly what’s needed to create some tension but not take away from the thrills of the chases, nor the audience wanting to know if Jon (Dean O’Gorman) will win his ex-fiancée back or if Luke (James Rolleston) and Keira (Ashleigh Cummings) will hookup.

Of course credit for the audience’s connection with the characters extends to the actors as well. While they may seem like nothing more than representatives of the film’s target audience (teens and young adults), Dean, James and Ashleigh helped in making their characters fun. They gave them enough faults and charms that you can’t help but root for them.

As far as the actual car chases sequences go — I had fun watching them. I’m certainly no Edgar Wright who could probably pull up some of the most obscure movies with chase scenes in order to draw reasonable comparisons. For what I was expecting, “Pork Pie” gave me exactly what I was looking for. The chases were fun and exciting; they pulled off a lot of impressive maneuvers and stunts in the Mini Cooper in various locations — everything from the country to the city streets and even a train terminal. They also gave the different chase scenes their own personalities. Some were down right silly, like James Rolleston trying to outrun the cops while Dean O’Gorman is getting sicker and sicker in the passenger seat (with Ashleigh Cummings in the back hoping she’ll make it to her vegan rally). Others definitely push the audience’s emotional buttons, like Dean O’Gorman being the last man standing (relatively speaking) as the car is on fire with the cops barreling down on him. Matt Murphy and his team knew well enough that the chases needed to have variety and needed to be unique from one another or else the audience would get bored — especially modern audiences.

“Pork Pie” is not a movie that will leave a lasting impression on me because I’m not exactly the right audience for it. I’m a grumpy old fart who likes his coffee the way he likes his movies — bitter and cynical…that doesn’t make sense but let’s roll with it anyway. However, I think a younger audience will absolutely love “Pork Pie” — it’s a lighthearted movies about three ne’er-do-wells who accidentally become criminal folk-heroes. It finds humor in both its action and character interactions with some sweet little romance subplots that are capped-off with some fun and exciting car chase scenes. Hell, even the song “Royals” from Lorde makes an appearance in the movie, if that means anything to you. In the end, I think for younger audience members, between “Pork Pie” and Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver”, this is a good year for comedic crime-thrillers centered around fast cars.

Positive things:
- Overall, it's just a fun movie that keeps things light.
- Likeable characters backed by a great cast.
- The chase sequences were fun. Especially the one with the Mini Cooper
Car Club.
Negative things:
- Typical premise.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 2.5/5
Effects: 0/5
Comedy: 3/5

We watched this movie thanks to:
Fantasia International Film Festival 2017

Reviewed by:






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