Pearls Before Swine

coverFinally available to the general public on DVD, this movie is the quintessential film for any hardcore Boyd Rice/Non and Death In June fan. However, it's hardly any wonder this film only did the festival circuit and never went out to a widescale release.


Filmed in Australia, Richard Wolstencroft's film is the story of Daniel, a member of a gang of professional hitmen, hired by mysterious high ranking officials to keep the land clean. To be in this gang, members have to have be a special breed of person: unphased by violence, unresmorseful, but somewhat professional and loyal. Daniel is played by Boyd Rice, who, when he's not killing bums in the street, enjoys a night life of cocaine and orgies. The high ups present the hit men a high priced hit on an author, an odd request as they're usually out killing punks and bums. Daniel answers an ad from an underground bookseller Marion Gough, played by Douglas P, who sells rare vintage publications from his house. Gough points Daniel's thirsty mind in the direction of author Morton Bugs, the very writer Daniel has been asked to kill.

With the exception of Douglas P, who is remarkably convincing, the acting is laughably pathetic, as nearly every actor has absolutely no screen presence or believability. (We can practically read the lines on the paper of the screenplay or the teleprompter!) The film quality is poor, with rare graphic close ups of any of the killings, poor lighting and cheap sets and director Richard Wolstencroft is obviously trying to find his style. However, what Boyd Rice fans will love about it is that that Daniel is the ultimate Boyd Rice character, with lines and a story that he could have written himself and sound like speeches heard on Non, Current 93, and other albums. He's got monologues on fascism and the Nazis; dialogues about religion, violence, art, dreams and desires; and a score orchestrated by Rice himself and featuring plenty of Non music. There's plenty of bondage, sex, and the occasional symbolism (like a DIJ tee shirt) to warrant a chuckle here and there.

At times Pearls Before Swine is almost a vehicle for Boyd Rice and his own thoughts, especially the scene about beliefs taking place in the church. Daniel is asked by the other main hitman Paul what he believes in and his response is "nothing." Paul says he believes in money and sex while Daniel argues that they're realities and there's no need to entrust belief in them and that "belief is reserved for known falsehoods." It's perhaps the most precious moment in the film, heavy in philosophy to digest. 

As the film progresses, we learn more of Daniel's dreams, whether revealed to a friend or dramatized on the screen. In one scene we see Daniel reading Morton Bugs' latest book, Pure, while daydreaming of the hit about to be carried out and we see Boyd (or Daniel) on the ground with bloody bullet wounds. It's at this point Daniel decides what he's got to do. Without giving the ending away, I'll say it is a mild surprise but I don't feel like the story built itself up enough to make it dramatically climactic.

Going back and watching the film a second time it's amusing to hear some of the clues given, especially in that scene at bookdealer Marion Gough's place. As a whole the film is amusing and die hard fans should not go without it, however I can't see anybody outside the circle to quite get it.