I’m aware of what I’m about to say considering Nicolas Cage was actively involved with this film, but this is one of the more interesting ones to come out of his career. As many know, he has really been sticking to the indie scene and having a bit of a resurgence there. But even when I had heard about this one, I didn’t know what to think. I’m an unabashed Cage fan. But this sounded like a John Wick clone except change out the pet and main actor. It would soon differentiate itself once the initial trailer was released. Instead of high-octane action, we looked to be getting a meditative film on the power of grief and loss. Then, the reviews started coming out where huge amounts of praise were being heaped on both Cage and the film itself. Naturally, I got curious. Unfortunately, I didn’t love it like everyone else.
The problem isn’t Cage. He deserves every ounce of the praise he’s been receiving. A lot of people forget this man is an Academy Award winning actor. They just focus on the numerous films he did when he was in debt and completely ignore the fact he still committed fully to those as well. But here, we see something in him we haven’t seen in a long time. A nuanced performance where he disappears into the character both physically and emotionally. If anything, this film is proving Cage is absolutely still an actor to pay attention to. There are also plenty of scenes which had me riveted to the screen. Again, usually the scenes where Cage’s acting is really shining. Beyond that, though, I found myself to not be fully interested. This is very much an art film which deals heavily with grief and how it affects us. And, because of it, there were many a times where I was slightly checked out.
Let it be known I didn’t hate this film. Just not as into as everyone else. This is a powerful film dealing with heavy themes and features one of Cage’s career defining performances. But outside of a few riveting scenes, for me at least, I was disinterested. Still, based off the praise, hopefully this is the film where people start to notice Cage as the great actor he is again.
I'd like to take this opportunity to remind Hollywood and audiences everywhere that Nicolas Cage is an Oscar-winning actor and was once a box office draw. He's not a punchline. He's an artist who is finally being choosy again, and because of that choosiness, we're getting hidden gems like Pig. This is a film that I guarantee will vanish from theaters after being overtaken by Black Widow and Space Jam 2, but it's a gorgeous drama that deserves its time in the spotlight. This film does a great job of showcasing the corrupting power of grief, and it gives Cage a perfect vehicle for a subtle, nuanced performance of a man who has nothing left to lose but a beloved pig.
Cage is Rob, a former renowned chef who fell into a spiral after the death of his wife. He retreated to the Oregon wilderness, where he became a truffle hunter with his pet pig. One day, Rob is assaulted and his pig is kidnapped. Together with his truffle-selling partner Amir (Wolff), Rob hunts down the ones responsible, which leads him to Amir's wealthy father Darius (Arkin). At this point, the film completely subverts expectations by having Rob take a "kill them with kindness" approach to getting his pig back. The ending of the film is devastating but hopeful, if that's what you pick up on. Either way, it's satisfying.
Pig is Cage's best work in years. There's elements of Mandy in his performance, but also a level of drama we've not seen in Cage since the 90's. There's still a talented character actor inside him somewhere, and we got to see him again with Pig. It's got a fairly limited release, but I urge people to go see it if they can.