Theatrical: Pig Review

The title artificially lengthened for SEO purposes.

I love Nicolas Cage. It may seem like I don’t because as of yet How About Notflix has reviewed one Nicolas Cage movie and it was absolute horse shit. But to enjoy Cage, one must understand who he is and why he does what he does. Cage is a talented actor, immensely talented. He’s also a prolific spender of everything that isn’t his taxes, so his lavish purchases of dinosaur bones, paintings, and castles end up with huge tax bills. For this, he takes pretty much any movie that will have him and his resulting career has been more buckshot than slug in terms of reliable quality.

In Pig Nicolas Cage plays the role of Rob, a man who lives on his own in the wilderness where he gathers truffles with his truffle pig. When some bad people break into his house and steal the pig one night, Rob enlists the support of his buyer Amir (Alex Wolff) to find the person responsible and get Rob’s pig back.

Both Cage and Wolff offer stellar performances. There’s a standout show by Adam Arkin as Darius whose character is intimidating, foreboding, and perfectly executed by the actor. Darius is a villain in a manner that isn’t entirely villainous. Every character feels fully fleshed out, which granted is a simple task since there’s really only three of them.

Pig didn’t go the way I expected, and I don’t think it was quite the movie the other six people in the theater thought it would be either. The trailer sets up something of a more action-oriented Cage movie, like the second half of Mandy. What we get is a more slow, plodding, somber movie with virtually no fighting or action in it whatsoever, like the first half of Mandy.

I’m not talking much about the plot, and it’s because Pig is one of those films best entered knowing as little of what happens as possible. It’s incredibly atmospheric with beautiful cinematography. Pig is slow, meticulous, and thoughtful, and you learn more about all the characters as it goes. It deals with grief similar to Mandy, and almost everything about the film isn’t quite what you think it will be. The audio is beautifully scored and it really enraptures the audience.

To put it another way, at the start of the film the woman in front of me had her phone out and the person behind me was a bit chatty. The film is segmented into three parts each with its own marquee title, and by the time the second part started both were quiet and attentive to the movie.

In Wally’s Wonderland, Nicolas Cage never talks and the movie was worse for it. For Pig, Cage barely talks and it enhances the movie greatly. It plays to the themes of loss, grief, and coping. Director Michael Sarnoski does a fantastic job and this is the first film written by Vanessa Block.

What I love most about Pig is that it’s almost impossible to compare to another film. Actually I lied. Imagine a film created as a conceptual negative of John Wick, and you’ve pretty much got Pig. There’s no unbridled rage, no explosions or people getting shot. It’s just a broken man who wants his pig back.

Verdict: A+

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