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Piggy Banks
cast: Jake Muxworthy, Lauren German, Gabriel Mann, Tom Sizemore, and Joel Michaely

director: Morgan J. Freeman

83 minutes (18) 2007
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Metrodome DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
Brothers John (Jake Muxworthy) and Michael (Gabriel Mann) earn their crust, not through honest toil, but by murder and theft. Their introduction into this world of mayhem is product of an unconventional upbringing. Their father (Tom Sizemore) is a psychotic drifter who roams from town to town, killing people when resources begin to run low. He basically sees other people, their money, homes and resources as piggy banks. Previously absent, the father takes over the upbringing John and Michael following the death of their mother. Whilst Michael seems to enjoy the killing, and associated violence that comes with it, John sees it more as a necessary evil in order to fund their lives. However, the abduction of Archer (Kelli Garner) causes unforeseen complications and introspection.

Piggy Banks (aka: Born Killers, in the USA) at first glance could easily come across as a typically violent slasher-type movie. This is not the case. Indeed, the majority of the violence is off-screen and left to the viewer's imagination. The real interest is around getting into the minds of some seriously warped individuals and to see whether their attempt at some sort of redemption is a success. Thus, giving us all hope.

It is, at times, a disturbing movie, hence the 18 rating. Arguably some of the killing and violence is superfluous, but at less than 90 minutes there is no stretching out of scenes just for the sake of it. In fact, Piggy Banks moves along at a decent pace, without ever being in danger of causing the viewer whiplash, and is not without its moments of mirth. Sizemore (Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbour) and Mann (The Bourne Supremacy, Buffalo Soldiers) put in especially powerful performances, with Muxworthy also impressing as the more conscientious of the murderers, if you can accept murders as such. However, it is arguably Laura German (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake) as the sister with an ulterior motive for wanting to changes the brothers' ways that delivers the star-turn in this film.

This is a good, solid movie, and one that causes the viewer to begin to empathise with characters despite them having previously been shown to be nothing short of callous. It is possible to get turned off just by the subject of the movie, but Piggy Banks does well to avoid the usual clich�s surrounding this genre of movie and that is a credit to director Morgan J. Freeman (not to be confused with his rather more famous namesake). The only (minor) complaint would be that this DVD release is somewhat lacking in extras.

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