If I had to describe PIG, Nicolas Cage‘s latest from NEON, I would say it’s John Wick with a lot less blood and a hell of a lot more grief. Split into sections, the film focuses on a truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness with his beloved foraging pig. After intruders break in, beat him, and kidnap her, the truffle hunter and former gourmet chef is forced to return to his past in Portland to save her. Directed and written by Michael Sarnoski and starring Cage as Rob, the truffle hunter in question, the film also features Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin, and Nina Belforte.
At just 92-minutes, PIG is short and evenly paced across acts that are separated with distinct title cards. At the start of the film, it gives you exactly what you expect from the trailer and the promotional materials for the film. Nic Cage wants his pig back. But while the first act feels like a revenge thriller-lite, it slowly morphs into a complex story about grief and how it transforms who you are as a person and how you see your purpose in the world.
In reality, it’s very hard to talk about PIG without spoiling the film. PIG is a tightly written film with a pace that is steady while also taking every moment to progress the narrative. This means that every reveal along the way through the film’s acts is both surprising and well-placed, moving through the narrative that surprises you in both physical elements (like an underground chef fight club) and in the emotional ones, as we explore Rob’s grief and learn why he’s retired to the forest to be alone with his pig.
PIG is simple but it effortlessly uses its cast to perfection. Acting opposite each other, Wolff and Cage are phenomenal. There is a comradery between the two that translates onscreen, even with an air of mystery as we learn more about both of them. Additionally, Arkin is stunning in his moments on screen. But truthfully, it’s Cage’s performance that pushes the film in a direction that embraces a “weird” concept and goes beyond any expectations you set going in.
The film exists in different spheres. In the beginning, it embraces the revenge thriller that teases the audience into experience another unhinged character that Cage has become known for. But, before that, it ebbs into an intimate look at sadness. Cage turns from a man who just wants his pig, willing to do whatever he has to do to get her, into a man who still wants all of that but is also feeling immense emotional pain at the same time. Cage is a dynamic actor, and while he has become a meme thanks to his very steady stream of roles he is beyond capable of moving an audience with the tenor of his voice, the furrow of his brow, and how his body sinks into itself on his bed when all seems lost.
While PIG may let some down with its genre pivot, it will surprise many. As a whole, the film utilizes its cast to perfection, but it’s Cage who pushes PIG to a space that is sure to become more than what it appears. Working with a story that unties itself to reveal a core of loss and pain that doesn’t hide these themes behind a curtain of violence. Instead, it embraces the sadness, ending with a note that shows Rob’s complete immersion into it. Overall, PIG is a must-see for everyone, and for Cage fans, it’s sure to cement your love of the actor. And for those who doubt Cage’s range, PIG is here to remind you.
PIG is in select theaters nationwide July 16, 2021.
- Rating - 8.5/108.5/10
While PIG may let some down with its genre pivot, it will surprise many. As a whole, the film utilizes its cast to perfection, but it’s Cage who pushes PIG to a space that is sure to become more than what it appears…Overall, PIG is a must-see for everyone, and for Cage fans, it’s sure to cement your love of the actor. And for those who doubt Cage’s range, PIG is here to remind you.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.