Review by William J. Hammon, ActuallyPaid.com
If you had told me that there would be a movie where Nicolas Cage plays a loner who goes on an obsessive mission to retrieve a stolen pig, I would 100% have believed you. If you told me it would be one of his finest performances ever in a thoughtful character study, and that it would be one of the best films of the year, I’d have called you a liar right to your face. And then, after watching Pig, I would have profusely apologized and eaten my words. I can’t remember the last time I was so delightfully surprised at a film’s quality.
Cage stars as Robin Feld, a hermit living out in the Oregon woods. His only companion is a truffle-sniffing pig, who sources the ultra-valuable fungi from the ground. Rob then sells them to Amir (Alex Wolff), an up-and-coming restaurant businessman with arrogance to spare and a sports car to match. By default, he’s the only human contact Rob has with the outside world. One night, while resting in his ramshackle abode, Rob is attacked by unseen assailants, where he is beaten unconscious, and his pig is kidnapped.
In just about any other movie starring a middle-aged actor, this would be the inciting incident for a violent revenge fantasy. And oftentimes, those films are quite entertaining, particularly the original Taken, the John Wick series, and this year’s sleeper hit, Nobody. But first-time director Michael Sarnoski instead opts for a slow, deliberate journey of self-reflection, allowing only the most crucial of details to be revealed and exposited at the right moments. Every scene from the pig’s abduction on is left to breathe, to be fully absorbed by an immersed audience. This is evident immediately from Cage’s rise from the floor, his face and hair caked in his congealed blood from the night before.
This gloriously slow pace – never once dragging or plodding, but truly living in the moment – is a thematically gorgeous contrast to the world that Rob left behind. And we’re not just talking about the hustle and bustle of cities like Portland, filled with bright lights and fast talkers (plus Amir’s car), but also Rob’s former career, as it turns out he’s a renowned chef who abandoned the culinary industry for his woodland hovel due to his disillusionment with the direction of the business. His contemporaries and customers no longer cared about the delicate art of cuisine, but about being and looking trendy for whatever new and expensive fad came along.
To read the rest of this review, click here.