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The slight plot of Oink, the first stop-motion feature from the Netherlands, isn’t nearly enough to hold your attention but the cute animation partly makes up for that.

If you go into Oink (titled Knor in its original Dutch language) expecting a movie that will delight adults as much as kids, the film will probably disappoint you. Look at it from a kid's perspective though, and there are plenty of things to enjoy.

Firstly there is the naïve but sweet storytelling that in typical Dutch fashion is a bit crude and unpolished but definitely makes it stand out amid sanitised Hollywood animation movies. The story itself - about a long lost granddad who wants to slaughter his granddaughter's pig in order to win a sausage competition - also makes you sit up and notice by the way.

Secondly, the stop-motion animation might night hold a candle to the work Aardman or Laika usually produce, but it also fits in nicely with the small-scale charms of Oink. The tactile fuzziness of the characters certainly adds to the wholesome warmth the picture oozes.

In the big action scenes the lack of a bigger budget does give Oink the appearance of a made-for-TV kids show, with a lack of imaginative camera angles or expansive sets. This also seeps into the movie's overall rhythm, which regularly sags, in part because the plot doesn't contain enough subplots to sustain even this relatively short feature film.

Overall though, even if you yourself won't be won over by Oink, I'm sure your kids or grandkids will cheerfully lap up the movie's antics. The Dutch Film Academy did so as well, because it bestowed Best Dutch Film honours to Oink in 2022 and submitted the picture to the Oscars.

release: 2022

director: Mascha Halberstad

starring: Hiba Ghafry, Kees Prins, Johnny Kraaijkamp, Loes Luca


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