Pig (2021) Review
THERE is very little action, minimal plot and a straight forward structure, but Pig proves simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, delving into the meaning of loss and how one should carry on after suffering unforeseen forfeiture.
Rob (Nicholas Cage), a truffle hunter living in isolation, must come face-to-face with the life he left behind in Portland after his truffle pig is kidnapped. With help from his business partner, Amir (Alex Wolff), Rob realises why he chose solitude as he searches for the one thing keeping him sane - his pig.
Grief is a difficult demon to face; coming to terms with the battle that lies ahead even more so. With the focal point of the film being a search and rescue, revenge would assumedly be a major part of it, but Pig subverts audience's expectations as Rob doesn't seek retribution, instead asking people, "I want my pig back." This kind of astute writing makes our lone, grizzled truffle hunter a sympathetic lead as he goes through hell and high water to see his lifelong friend returned; a serene path many would take to see their loved ones unharmed as appose to extreme violence.
Nicholas Cage carries the meat of the film, delivering an emotionally-supercharged performance as a battle-scarred truffle hunter secluded in the Oregonian wilderness. The veteran actor showcases his superb range, beginning as a restrained soul content with the company of his partner in truffle hunting before releasing his contained rage onto others through methodical and psychological torture, collectedly picking apart their meaningless lives in hopes they'll crack under the pressure of his truth.
This manner of abuse is first shown to us during a scene with Rob and Amir at a restaurant where they talk with Chef Finway (David Knell) about the pig's whereabouts as Cage, in a slow, meticulous tone, picks apart the chef's past and present life, exclaiming that your customers don't care about you; they only care about the forgettable meals you stress over, leading Finway to become physically and psychologically unstable through subtle changes such as faster blinking and a higher voice. The scene is capped off with a tremendous quote from writer and director Michael Sarnoski that reveals the underlying conflicts Rob faced before and after his detachment from society - "We don't get a lot of things to really care about."
Pig truly is a one-of-a-kind experience. While its simplistic plot and meandering manner of storytelling can leave the film lifeless at times, Sarnoski's tale of a troubled truffle hunter is propelled by a return to form performance by Nicholas Cage who makes you care for the wellbeing of a pig through daunted expressions and dialects which speak to the true meaning behind Pig - loss, grief, and the importance of human connection.