Film review: “Pig” | Arts and culture
Nicolas Cage has one of the most confusing filmographies of any actor in my life. It won an Oscar for “Leaving Las Vegas” and left audiences scratching their heads with roles like “Mandy” and the most recent “Color Out of Space”. When a new Cage film arrives, there is excitement and reluctance among audiences with whatever it will bring. We loved his crazy, larger-than-life performances, but we completely forgot the range he has as a performer. If you are looking for a dose of “Crazy Cage” then “Pig” will not be what you expect. Rob (Cage) is a truffle hunter living in the Oregon wilderness who is forced to return to his favorite Portland home in search of his pet truffle pig, which someone has taken in the middle of the night.
I’m sure you’d expect “John Wick” with a pig after hearing this premise. Instead, what we get here is a drama about a man facing grief. What makes the story work is how quiet the film treats itself. Just 90 minutes away, we’re immediately immersed in the action of Rob walking through his former chef’s playground. The world created by first-time director Michael Sarnoski is all about character.
Rob and Amir both roam the gray surroundings of Portland with relatively minimal dialogue. Watching them meet old friends and familiar faces, we learn everything we need to know about these characters. The only difference is that their faces and subtle reactions to those conversations tell us everything we need to know. It’s a fairly subtle cinema that is both engaging and moving. We never get “Crazy Cage”, but we do get a performance that shows us the reach. Rob’s life has only been filled with pain and suffering, and Cage expresses it brilliantly. The movie never makes it clear what those traumas are, but we can see why they haunted him. It’s a very nuanced role and succeeds thanks to a lead performance that allows us to draw our own conclusions.
The subtlety of “Pig” is a double-edged sword that certainly won’t appeal to everyone. The film is more about the reactions of the characters than the mechanics of the plot, so some will say, “it’s too slow”. This is a very valid concern, but one that could cause the audience to lose sight of what makes the story as effective as it is. The points he wants to make to the public run deep and unfold smoothly with rich rewards. These rewards aren’t blatant, but will definitely keep your mind focused on the many possibilities.
“Pig” is the kind of movie that sure won’t suit all fans of Cage’s later career. Compared to the wilderness of those early films, this one focuses more on interactions than just reactions. While it’s certainly not to everyone’s liking, there are some minor character moments that will stick with you long after the credits roll. If you want a movie to have an impact then I encourage you to see this one in theaters. The quiet, dark room can be the perfect place to soak up this history. Even if you end up seeing the movie on demand, it’s definitely something begging to be seen.
Score: 7.5 / 10
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1i-_CRKdh4Y