Pork Pie | Third Space

Pork Pie

A bit of serendipity
Thu 26 Jan 2017

3 out of 5 stars

Pork Pie - a snap-brimmed hat with a round, flat crown, usually made of felt

Serendipity is a story telling devise used by film makers to bring together an unlike group of individuals by accident. Coming from different areas of life, but when the story is told well it seems that their fate was always to be together. Pork Pie is on of those serendipitous experiences retold by the writer/director Matt Murphy from the 1981 New Zealand classic.

Jon (Dean O’Gorman) is a down-on-his-luck novelist who has lost everything that he considered important in his life. One significant life decision has brought him to the point of taking extreme measures to make things right. In trying to get his life back on track, he finds himself hitchhiking to a wedding on the highways of the North Island of New Zealand. While on the road, he catches a ride with Luke (James Rolleston) who consequently is on the run from the authorities because of his choice to steal the apricot-coloured Mini Cooper the pair are travelling. While trying to get to the wedding and evading the Kiwi police force, they manage to be joined by the vegan activist Kiera (Ashleigh Cummings) on their race across the island. Through their journey, the inadvertent fugitives mange to develop a bond of friendship that leads to a deeper purpose to their lives. What presents as a meaningless car chase across the beautiful landscapes of this island nation turns into a heart-warming message of redemption.

The cross-country chase is a familiar vehicle for filmmakers to include adventure and comedy, but Pork Pie offers two components that differentiate it from all that come before it. The first element is the chase occurring across the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand. The people, picturesque views and unique culture becomes a fourth charter in this comedic car chase. It provides a beautiful backdrop to an ubiquitous genre and the real value of the film, the central cast. This illogical set of characters would not come together in any other setting than a cinematic comedy, but for whatever reason this combination simply works. No one off the islands of New Zealand may know any of these actors or that the whole film is based on a 1981 film, but this does not matter. O’Gorman and Rolleston manage to portray a connection that rivals any buddy road trip film from the past. Their comedic timing and the depth of emotion portrayed by both actors drives this story along, regardless of some of the glaring plot holes. Then to add the potential love interest of Ashleigh Cummings into the mix moves this from an odd pairing of two men to appealing, but organised chaos.

Like most cross-country narratives, the logic of timelines and the lack of probable consequences are left on the road side. To think to deeply about the lack of damage to the getaway car or the sheer ineptitude of law enforcement might give pause to anyone who needs reality to be part of their cinematic experience. Pork Pie is meant to be a joy ride for audiences to enjoy the development of this interesting characters and hope they achieve their ultimate goal at the end of the road.

REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?

  1. Where can real meaning and purpose be found? (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Philippians 3: 9-10)
  2. Should we be entertained by a story of thieves? Stories of all types allow us to connect to a bigger story, dare I say, God’s story. They can provide entertainment, but many can provide an education for something more. Things have not changed much throughout history. Jesus understood this nuance of the human experience and utilised stories of the unsavoury to convey his message, too. (Matthew 24:43, Luke 16:1-13)
  3. Does God laugh? Sure He does, He is the creator of all things, including humour. Do you need proof? Merely look closely at a platypus and know that God has a beautiful sense for the comedic. (Psalm 59:7-9, Psalm 2)