Living alone in the Oregon wilderness, a truffle hunter (Nicolas Cage) returns to Portland to find the person who stole his beloved pig.
I heard some very positive things about Pig before going into it, at first it looked like a revenge movie about Nicolas Cage trying to get back his, pig but apparently it was a genuinely great film given the responses. I went in fairly blind outside of knowing the premise, and I was surprised by how amazing this film turned out to be.
The plot is about Nicolas Cage as a truffle hunter living on his own except for his pig, his pig is then kidnapped, and this leads him on a journey into the city as he tries to find her. At first the plot doesn’t sound anything special. Despite that John Wick esque premise (with a pig instead of a dog), it is not really a revenge thriller. It basically subverts any expectations you might have from setups like this, and is an anti revenge movie. It’s an intriguing character study, and as the movie progresses it slowly reveals aspects about Cage’s character, and the history that is uncovered really is compelling. The choices made and the places the story and characters go to are interesting. Pig’s setup is certainly reminiscent of a revenge movie but evolves into an melancholic, existential reflection and meditation on emptiness and loss. Its about moving on and dealing with your past. There’s a lot to connect with here, and the take on grief is very human and handled with a lot of empathy. The dialogue is fantastic, with very riveting conversations. The moment I realised that this was a special movie was a conversation between Cage and a chief inside a restaurant, definitely one of the most memorable scenes in the whole film. At the same time, Pig can still say a lot without using a whole lot of dialogue. The movie is short at 90 minutes but it is also very slowly paced, and you’ll be sorely disappointed if you were expecting a revenge thriller. I do appreciate the steady progression of the storytelling however.
The acting is also amazing. First of all is Nicolas Cage who delivers one of his all-time best performances and that’s saying a lot. Despite his reputation for being eccentric and over the top, Cage is comparatively restrained as he embodies the stoic and quiet character of Robin Feld. His acting is subdued and subtle, yet very powerful, and feels incredibly natural and believable here. Alex Wolff is also great here in possibly his best performance yet. His character is a business partner of Robin who decides to help him find his pig. Both Cage and Wolff share great chemistry, and the movie allows plenty of time for these two characters to open up to each other. The rest of the acting from the likes of Adam Arkin and more are also strong and memorable despite appearing in no more than 2 scenes.
Michael Sarnoski directs Pig in his debut film, and his work here is great. The directing is definitely on the more subtle side, but nonetheless incredibly effective on a technical level. The cinematography is gorgeous from beginning to end, particularly with the scenes filmed in the forest earlier on. The music and sound are also strong, with a haunting and tonally rich score from Alexis Grapsas and Philip Klein adding a lot to the film.
Pig was one of the biggest surprises of the year. Its beautifully and carefully crafted, the story and journey are compelling and unexpected, and it has some excellent performances from Nicolas Cage and Alex Wolff. It is one of the best films of 2021, and one well worth seeking out.