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Pig (2021)

Rob (Nicolas Cage) owns a truffle Pig (Brandy). The pig’s job is to locate the coveted truffle so that Rob and Amir (Alex Wolff) can make some money, but Rob’s relationship with the pig is based on more than business–he loves the pig like a child. When a group of individuals break in one night and kidnaps his beloved pig, Rob is forced to leave his secluded cabin in the woods and travel to the big city of Portland to retrieve her. However, Rob will soon find that Portland is a battleground, and getting his pig back will prove to be anything but easy.

I had no expectations going into Pig. The fact that the film is centered almost entirely around a pig is fascinating, but almost concerning, because it doesn’t seem like there would be enough content to warrant a feature-length film. Somehow, however, writers Vanessa Block and Michael Sarnoski manage to create a story centered on a pig that spans approximately an hour and a half–and the content manages to be riveting. While in the grand scheme of things Rob’s pig is the focal point of the story, it is Rob and his interactions with the others on screen that draws in viewers and gives them a reason to care about the film.

I’ve never believed that Cage has been the best actor, and I honestly believe (and I just had a similar conversation the other day) that he has survived in the Hollywood mainstream as a result of him remaining favorable in the public eye as a person rather than an actor. This performance may be his best to date, however. Pig may have been the perfect film for him all along, providing him the opportunity to shine the way in which he is capable. As a recluse who seems to struggle assimilating with the general public throughout the course of the film, the role fits Cage wonderfully, as he, too, is awkward. Not to take anything away from the performance, but it’s possible that Cage simply showed up on set and acted as himself–sort of an oddball–and did a compelling job of bringing Rob to life and guiding viewers through the story. Opposite Cage is Wolff, and I’m equally surprised at how well he portrays Amir. Amir is sort of, for lack of a better word, a dick. With that, however, he manages to be somewhat of the comic relief throughout Pig.

While I love Wolff’s portrayal of Amir–I believe that the success of this character comes as a result of the writing. In dramatic films like Pig, when writers attempt to incorporate somewhat comedic characters into the story those characters take something away from the drama that is present–but Amir is written in a way that welcomes viewers and helps keep the film from feeling too overwhelming in certain situations. He’s there not just for comic relief, but to remind viewers that even in the darkness there is some light. Kudos to Sarnoski and Block for finding what feels like the perfect balance for this character and for creating equilibrium in an otherwise dark film.

Pig is one of the more unique films I’ve seen that has relevance in both the world of cinema and real life. Most films as unique as this must rely on a schtick in order to appeal to viewers–and while I suppose the hunt for a truffle pig may be considered a schtick–the reality is that this film has found a place not just in the darkest depths of Hollywood and cinema, but in the mainstream as well. The juxtaposition between a young, talented actor and a seasoned, interestingly successful one guides the way through this dark film about desire and love. In a million years I wouldn’t have thought to pair Wolff and Cage together, but their chemistry is brilliant, one-of-a-kind, and truly entertaining–and they also manage to pull me in emotionally (something I never expected). Pig blurs the lines between horror and the culinary arts, and it, surprisingly, is one of the best films that I’ve seen from 2021.

Directed by Michael Sarnoski.

Written by Vanessa Block & Michael Sarnoski.

Starring Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Cassandra Violet, Julia Bray, Elijah Ungvary, Darius Pierce, David Knell, Adam Arkin, etc.




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