Friday, December 10, 2021

Pig: Movie Review

An unrelenting and compelling tale of a missing pig and decades-old depression.
You would be forgiven if you weren’t expecting a movie about Nicolas Cage looking for his lost pig to be one of the best movies of the year. The sheer power of this movie sneaks up on you and leaves an indelible mark. So slowly and subtly it transforms a story of a gruff man and his truffle-hunting pig into a compelling story of grief, acceptance of loss and the ugly underbelly of the Portland restaurant scene.   2021

Directed by: Michael Sarnoski

Screenplay by: Vanessa Block, Michael Sarnoski

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff

Robin (Nic Cage) is a simple man who lives a simple life deep in the Oregon forests. He lives in a log cabin, doesn’t shower, just him and his pig who go out looking for truffles. He comes back home and makes torts. His only contact is Amir (Alex Wolff) who sells his truffle goods in exchange for items he might need – typically cooking items. He doesn’t need anything else. This has been his life for at least a decade.

But Robin’s pig is ruthlessly kidnapped and he has to get her back. His truck doesn’t get him very far – not surprising, he clearly hasn’t driven it in years. He calls Amir. Amir doesn’t really get what he’s supposed to do but he’s built his business around Robin’s truffles, so he’ll help him out.

The story is surprisingly compelling. It starts out with really strong cinematography of the Oregon forests, lingering on where Robin’s journey will lead and where it will bring him back to. Amir reluctantly drives him into Portland. Robin doesn’t want to tell him anything, just that he’s looking for a hotel that no longer exists and he finds people who want to beat him up instead.

For the first half of the movie just enough information is revealed to keep us watching. It feels like a lot is missing. But then the second half expertly weaves in the rest of the story with themes of grief and moving on. It becomes a tale that is interesting and unique but held together by the all-too-familiar understanding of death.

A lot has been written about Nicolas Cage’s unrelenting performance of Rob. A man determined not to let anyone in, a man who’s going to live his life away from the everyone and the world, but the deeper we get in the journey of the missing pig, the more he reveals about who he is. A lot less has been written about Alex Wolff and that’s a shame. A young man who’s just a ‘businessman from the city’ but the longer he sticks with Rob, it’s clear how the issues from his past are affecting him.

I hated the ending at first but that’s just because of how heartbroken I was which just speaks to how powerful and affecting this film really is. The filmmakers reached into my chest, pulled out my heart, cooked it up with some truffles and served it with some nice wine. Heartless.