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N.L. feature film ‘Hunting Pignut’ a laugh out loud trip to the movies

N.L. feature film "Hunting Pignut" was a hit with Telegram reviewer Wendy Rose.
N.L. feature film "Hunting Pignut" was a hit with Telegram reviewer Wendy Rose.

I didn’t recognize the movie theatre. It has changed a lot since my last visit. It’s been years. In fact, ‘Hunting Pignut’ may be the first film to bring me into that portion of the Avalon Mall since I demanded a refund for local flop “Stoner FM” in 2013.

This time, however, I left the theatre with a far better demeanour, and thus, this favourable review.

Reading up on Newfoundland director Martine Blue’s feature-length film earlier this week, I was excited but wary — some of my best friends are “crust punks,” and I was curious to see if their culture would be romanticized or demonized in Blue’s movie. Her approach was neither, as the filmmaker possesses first-hand knowledge of the grimy, nomadic lifestyle.

The star of the film is not a punk, however. Bernice Kilfoy (Taylor Hickson) is a soon-to-be 16-year-old girl from around the bay, just trying to navigate this plane of existence.

Her plight is relatable — most of us were teens around the bay, looking for our place in the world. We wished our nagging moms would quit berating us about beating the streets and staying away from drugs.

For Bernice, however, this nagging voice was silent, as her busy mom (Amelia Manuel) and absentee dad (Ryan Patrick Walsh) pursued their own lives.

What happens next, is less relatable — well, presuming your deadbeat dad wasn’t a face-tattooed crust punk living on the fringes of society. Or that he just died of an overdose.

Upon learning of her father’s death, Bernice attempts to unravel the mystery of her wayward parent, as a way to discover more about herself. This exploration gives few answers but more questions, all surrounding her dad’s crust punk lifestyle, and his weird, smelly friends.

Starring as title character Pignut, Joel Thomas Hynes is the unappointed leader of the crew. His character is so realistic that I swear he must have studied under some of the idiotic, abusive drunk punks that I’ve encountered in my own life.

Maggie (Bridget Wareham) reminds me of the fiercely intelligent, sensibly calloused, yet wonderfully kind-hearted women I often meet in crust punk communities. The whole gang is a family, putting the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional.’ The rugged crew of punks seem hip to her cause at first — I mean hey, this is their dead best friend’s kid, and she’s just trying to learn more about her dad, right? But it’s not that their squat isn’t the right place for Bernice – she doesn’t fit into the lifestyle, and the harsh realities within it.

An intense and somewhat dark tale of two worlds colliding and imploding, this is somehow still a laugh out loud film — the five years Blue spent writing this film were not wasted.

To the trained local eye, ‘Hunting Pignut’ is also a highly entertaining game of peek-a-boo, I see you, insert-name-of-local-industry-professional-here.

The credits have since rolled, but I have one question remaining — when the hell did Paddy Daley become an executive film producer?!





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