When you make a half-dozen movies every year, eventually one of them has to be good!
“Pig” stars Nicolas Cage as a recluse truffle hunter in the Oregon wilderness that sets out on a mission to recover his prized pig after it is stolen. Alex Wolff and Adam Arkin also star while Michael Sarnoski makes his directorial debut.
There once was a time where Nic Cage’s name meant something, and I don’t just mean because his actual surname is Coppola. He was starring in blockbusters like “The Rock” and “National Treasure” while also getting critical praise in dramas like “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Adaptation.” In recent years, however, Cage has become an internet meme and found himself down a similar path as Bruce Willis and John Travolta, 90s stars who opt to take a quick paycheck in a non-theatrical release no matter the quality. While “Pig” is a low-budget film, it gives Cage a seemingly rare opportunity to remind us how talented he can be, and that he doesn’t need to overact or yell to get his points across.
Overall I am a fan of Nic Cage, I think his vintage days of “The Rock” and “Matchstick Men” had him giving the exact blend of seriousness and tongue-in-cheek needed for his roles. Here, Cage plays a hermit who is perfectly content with his humble shack in the forest. We peel back the layers of Cage’s past as the film progresses so I won’t go into much detail here, but it’s clear that no one forced him into this simpler life, scoffing at cell phones and Bugattis; he chose to not live by society’s standards of “normal.”
The film has an odd, at times hypnotic sense about it, and the pacing is deliberate. Running just 92 minutes the film is certainly at times slow but it’s never boring. It knows what it has to do and who we have to meet, and rookie writer/director Michael Sarnoski doesn’t waste any of our time.
I went into this film completely cold save for the most basic of of plot summaries and suggest you should too, but if you need the elevator pitch then this is “First Cow” meets “John Wick” (and my friend said it also features a touch of “Ratatouille” thrown in). It’s the kind of film that just gets more bizarre as it goes but you are so entranced by it you don’t mind. Once you reach the final destination, you’re left pondering topics such as loss, regret, and self-worth, certainly more than any film featuring Nicolas Cage as a man searching for a lost pig has any right to make you feel.
“Pig” is a weird film and I can imagine won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. At times it introduces aspects of this truffle hunting world that get no full explanation or wrap-up, and for some that may be bothersome. But if you like your Cage calm and your stories entrancing, this one brings home the bacon.
Critics Rating: 7/10