Nicolas Cage is one of those actors who film historians will look back over his career and be puzzled at some, gleefully entertained by others and on same rare gems, he will be admired and remembered. Pig is a movie that is nothing that you can either predict nor walk in expecting some crazy Nic Cage moment. This is a movie that is very unique in its storytelling, themes and overall presentation that proves of how good Cage can be when given the right material.
Pig takes place in Oregon, just outside of Portland. A man named Rob (Nicolas Cage) lives in cabin in the woods with no running water or electricity. He lives alone and spends his days with his pig, who has a knack for sniffing out the best truffles that one can find. Rob is recluse and prefers it that way even when a young man named Amir (Alex Wolff) pays him a visit. Amir works with Rob to sell the truffles to high-end luxury restaurants that pride themselves in finding and serving the most prestigious ingredients to their customers. Rob is a man of few words but having his pig by his side does provide him with some comfort. One night, two people break into Rob’s cabin and steal his precious pig. Heartbroken by this event, Rob ventures outside of his home to retrieve his pig. Amir reluctantly offers his assistance.
Amir and Rob come from different worlds but they do have one thing is common and that is the restaurant business. It’s revealed that many years ago, Rob was a man that people in Portland knew quite well. He was once a renowned chef whose reputation was of high regard and even after all these years, his name still means something. With the appearance of a homeless person and dressing as such, Rob cares little for his appearance especially with the dried blood on the side of his face following the people who stole his pig. All he cares about is finding his pig and bringing her back home. She’s the only thing he has in life that brings him happiness. This proves ever more true when we find out what led Rob to drop out from society and become essentially a forager.
The journey that we are taken on is one of self-discovery, revelations and the realization of how loss can affect one man in more ways than one. Rob’s previous life as a chef has left him with numerous memories that he has not forgotten about. In one of the best scenes in the movie, Rob visits a restaurant where he asks for the head chef. The chef is man that Rob once knew; he was the pasta cook who worked for him. They engage in small talk but things turn serious when Rob tells the head chef who he is resulting in the head chef remembering him. Rob is somewhat confused that this head chef traded his dream of running a pub for a contemporary restaurant; a decision that the head chef still recalls and ultimately wishes he made a different choice in his career. From there, we follow the journey of Rob retracing the steps he took many years prior. Revisiting the past and wondering where everything went wrong. The pig is what Rob wants back because of its sentimental value but everything else in-between has an important meaning to him.
This all culminates in an ending that is poignant, powerful and emotional for the audience, especially if they too have something of sentimental value that has been lost or worst yet, taken from you. This isn’t one of those Nic Cage movie where we just roll our eyes and forget about it. No, no. Pig is a fantastic film that encapsulates the feelings of one man’s pursuit of something that cannot be easily replaced.
Score 4.5 out of 5
Pig marks the directorial debut of Michael Sarnoski and along with Vanessa Block as his co-screenwriter, together they have crafted a great movie that showcases the very best of Nicolas Cage. I will say that Pig is unlike anything you were expecting prior to reading this review and this is certainly a film that not everyone will enjoy. It’s a slow movie but one that features a good story, wonderful acting and themes that hit hard for everyone. Pig is a movie that hits all the high notes and is a highlight in Nic Cage’s career.