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Pig (2021) – Review: A Beautiful Film That Features Another Inspired Performance From Nicolas Cage

August 4, 2021
Poster courtesy of Neon

Quick Thoughts – Grade – A – Pig is a beautiful film that will definitely be included in my year end “best of” lists. I can’t think of the last time I was so engrossed in a movie. Also, Nicolas Cage is excellent, and between Pig, Joe, Mandy, and Color Out of Space, he’s been putting in some great work in movies that place him in a wooded area.

The best thing about Pig is that you have no clue where it’s going. The trailer with it’s classical music, and eerie score makes you believe that it’s a thriller/psychological drama about a man trying to find the truffle pig that was stolen from him. To a certain extent, that’s true, but the lurid editing (I don’t blame the marketers, they had to sell it) hides how truly soulful it is. If you are looking for a contemplative, thoughtful and beautifully shot experience, I totally recommend you rent (or buy) Pig. If you can, turn off the lights, and enjoy the 92-minute film that features excellent work from Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, and Adam Arkin.

Directed by Michael Sarnoski, Pig tells the story of Rob (Nicolas Cage), a truffle hunter heading to Portland in hopes of finding his pig that was stolen from him by two opportunistic thieves. The thieves were hired by a Portland bigwig, who heard about the pigs mythical ability to hunt down truffles that are sold to the Pacific northwest elite in haughty restaurants that deconstruct pretty much anything. Joining Rob in his journey, is his buyer Amir (Alex Wolff), who drives him to the big city after Rob is attacked and left bloody in his isolated shack (he never cleans himself up, and it’s great). From there, the two find themselves exploring the seedy side of Portland, and it would be a shame to tell you more. Why? Pig is a movie that you should know very little about, because it will take you to places you’d never expect. 

The cinematography by Patrck Scola (who has shot music videos for The Weeknd, Vampire Weekend, Alt-J and The Neighbourhood) is beautiful to look at, as it uses doorframe, trees, and Nic Cage’s face to wonderful results. It would be disappointing to not see Scola nominated for any awards because his work is constantly inventive, and the use of focus and depth of field is inspired. Also, the script by Sarnoski and Vanessa Block keeps you engaged as it takes you from the isolated woods to an urban landscape that feels almost as dangerous and foreign as the Oregon woods. It’s also nice that the movie doesn’t go the Taken or John Wick route, as violence is mostly avoided, and aside from a couple beatdowns, the film mostly relies on tense dialogue scenes that are far more suspenseful than people punching each other in their faces.

After Color Out of Space, Mandy, Willy’s Wonderland, Mom and Dad, and Now Pig, Nicolas Cage has been turning in excellent performances in solid movies that have been missed by the mainstream (Watch Mandy now!). The narrative may be that he is stuck in direct-to-DVD purgatory, but that can’t be further from the truth. His work is interesting, unique, and in the case of Willy’s Wonderland, mostly silent. Mandy might be one of the best horror films of the 21st century, and a big reason for that is Cage’s performance, as he’s asked to be an ultimate badass who endures worlds of hurt, suffering, and pain at the hands of supernatural gross people, and cult members who have no clue who they are up against. If you get a chance, check out one of these films, they are well worth your time. 

Final Thoughts – Watch Pig. Do it now.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2021 5:55 pm

    This sounds interesting. We enjoy most of Cage’s movies with the occasional cameo that is a flop, so this would have have been iffy. But we’ll give it a run. Thanks for the review and highlighting it.

  2. August 5, 2021 2:13 pm

    Absolutely loved this film. I agree that the tone of the trailer was off and honestly the concept seemed a little silly to me at first, however Pig was truly a thought-provoking, visceral experience. Great review!

    • August 5, 2021 2:21 pm

      Thanks! You are 100% right. When I first heard that Cage was in a movie where he was trying to find his stolen pig, I thought it was going to be a gonzo experience. Glad it was so good. I hope Cage gets recognized for his work.

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