The planned murder of a prostitute forms the heart of the story in the new movie Piercing. Reed (Christopher Abbott) is the one doing the planning, leaving his wife and child behind under the pretense of going on a business trip when he really is out to kill a call girl.
Reed’s murderous obsession leads him to contact Jackie (Mia Wasikowska). But she turns out to be more than he bargained for, and when things go off the rails Reed finds he is no longer in control of the situation. That leads to a night that didn’t go anything like what he had planned.
I’m not even sure what’s going on with the poster that was released while the film was still at Sundance. It’s a drawing of the three main characters walking or sitting on what seems to be piano keys. A few drops of blood, as well as the presence of a leather-suited gimp in the background, hint at something dark and sexual going on in the story, but that’s not cleared up in any way. The film’s pedigree – based on the Ryu Murakami novel and from director Nicolas Pesce – is shared to help attract people who are going to recognize those names.
The second poster arranges photos of Reed and Jackie along with various other items – a knife, a bra etc – around the one-sheet in a way that shows they’re connected but doesn’t do much to explain how. It’s alright, but takes the same basic tack as many other indie films.
The red-band trailer offers a look at a surreal, strange movie that’s filled with terrible people doing terrible things to one another. Reed’s murderous impulses drive him to call a prostitute, but once Jackie arrives it’s clear he’s no longer the one calling the shots. What follows is shot after shot of the two of them engaged in all sorts of activities that push the boundaries of what’s acceptable.
It’s a very weird trailer seling a very weird movie.
Online and Social
Scroll down the movie’s official website and you see elements like a story synopsis, the trailer, cast and crew information and more. It carries over the look of the key art while at the bottom you’ll find links to profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing that I’ve seen here.
Media and Publicity
The movie made a few of the “most anticipated” lists of films critics were looking forward to in advance of its debut at the Sundance Film Festival, where Pesce talked about how to alleviate his own nerves he shot the whole thing in miniature before working with the actors. The cast and crew also engaged in a Q&A following that festival screening.
It wasn’t until a year later that the first clip, along with comments from Pesce, was released. He and Abbott were interviewed together and the cast made the rounds to a few more outlets to talk about the unusual nature of the movie.
Unfortunately there’s just no real through line to the campaign, nothing that holds it together or offers anyone a firm foothold. There’s some interesting stuff, but it seems like the kind of “shock me” movie that would have been made in 1993 and resulted in a boycott by Focus on the Family or something. There’s certainly decent buzz about the film, but the odds it finds an audience are slim.
Picking Up the Spare
More from Wasikowska here on the over-the-top story of the movie.
JoBlo offered an exclusive clip just before the movie hit theaters.