TL;DR – This is a film that has so many disparate parts that it threatens to come apart at every turn, but they hold it together into this heartfelt journey.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to watch this film
Pig Review –
There is this phrase that gets used today: that things can be a ‘mood’. It is one of those concepts that is difficult to define, but you instantly recognise it when you see it. Today, we have a film that is a mood from the moment it starts till the moment it ends.
So to set the scene, we open in a forest by a river where Robin “Rob” Feld (Nicolas Cage) lives with his pig Pig and spends his days rummaging for truffles. He trades his truffles for supplies once a week with Amir (Alex Wolff), who is concerned that he lives up here all alone without even a phone. But one night, Pig is upset. Rob thinks it is coyotes right up until someone kicks down the door and knocks him out, and steals Pig away.
The first thing that the film does to its credit is that it immediately situated Rob in his place and the world and his relationship with Pig. It is under fifteen minutes between the film starting and Pig getting stolen, and in that time, you completely understand his relationship with the world and who he is. You also understand his bond with Pig and that it is more than just because she is good at finding truffles. It is because the film captures you so completely in those first moments that you are ready to follow this story to its end.
This is a film that, more than anything, needs the strength of its lead actor to power us through, which is only amplified by the fact that Rob is primarily silent for a lot of the runtime. In that respect, Nicolas Cage was the perfect casting for the role. For the first moment you see him on screen, he makes an instant impression. Rob is a mood and not a particularly good mood. There is pain etched into his performance which is reflected in every moment. You see it in how he related to Pig, related to Amir, even in his costume, which does not change throughout the film, down to the bloodstains. As a side note, I feel sorry for whoever’s job was to keep continuity throughout the film.
At the heart of the narrative, this is a weird road trip across Portland that is part Chef’s Table, part Noir investigation, emotional deconstruction, and absurdist allegory. There is no way that combination should have worked, but this is a film that holds its disparate parts together by the skin of its fingernails. Part of what makes it work is that both Nicolas Cage and Alex Wolff commit entirely to their roles which were not easy to parse because both characters had to go through a difficult emotional journey throughout the film.
In the end, do we recommend Pig? Well, to be fair, this is not an easy film to watch at times. However, it is compelling from start to finish, and the narrative will completely capture you. If you liked Pig, we would also recommend to you Land.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Pig
Directed by – Michael Sarnoski
Story by – Michael Sarnoski & Vanessa Block
Screenplay by – Michael Sarnoski
Music by – Alexis Grapsas & Philip Klein
Cinematography by – Patrick Scola
Edited by – Brett W. Bachman
Production/Distribution Companies – AI Film, Endeavor Content, Pulse Films, BlockBox Entertainment, Valparaiso Pictures, Saturn Films & Madman Films
Starring – Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin, Nina Belforte, Gretchen Corbett, David Knell, Beth Harper, Julia Bray, Darius Pierce, Elijah Ungvary & Cassandra Violet
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: 14A; Germany: 16; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 15; United States: R