Nicholas Cage’s new film Pig is a movie so disarmingly honest and bittersweet that it seems impossible to have been released in 2021. What starts off as a low-rent John Wick clone ends up becoming one of the most revelatory films in recent years.
Robin Feld (Nicholas Cage) is a man who lives completely off of the grid in rural Oregon with his truffle pig. He has no contact with human life other than Alex Wolff’s Amir who buys truffles from Feld to supply to high-end restaurants.
When Feld’s home is broken into and his pig stolen, he enlists the help of Amir and sets off into town to find her. At this point I thought I knew where Pig was going, but I was gladly wrong.
One expects a low-budget Nicholas Cage venture where a man’s pig is stolen to end up a bloody action-thriller where Cage will stop at nothing to reclaim his pig. While there is one scene of violence, the film couldn’t be more different than what is probably expected by most.
The film ends up being less about the plot to find the pig and more about the extended dialogue sequences that take place between the characters. After the audience is informed about just who Robin Feld used to be, our context for the film changes.
Nicholas Cage and Alex Wolff make for an inspired duo. This isn’t Lethal Weapon or Midnight Run.
These characters don’t quip back and forth to each-other in funny exchanges that break up the action of the story. Amir and Robin do have problems in their relationship, but the scenes that resolve these problems play out with grace, dignity, and humility as the characters begin to respect each-other and care for one another.
Pig is one of the best examples in recent memory of a former superstar committing to a performance that is award-worthy and acts as an elevation of their talent. Nicholas Cage hasn’t been this good since Adaptation.
Pig's central character is a person who wasn't shunned by society, but has rather completely removed himself from society's consciousness. Robin Feld is a man who expects to be greeted with hostility upon his return to a real-world setting, but is instead met with something akin to reverence.
Pig’s end doesn’t bring a bloody climax. Instead, it ends with plot rug-pull and an emotional release that is likely to have invested audience members shedding a tear or two.
Adam Arkin is superb here as the film's de-facto villain. His actions are seemingly one-dimensional at first inclusion, but at the film's end his character is just as emotionally battered and affected by the events surrounding Robin Feld as Cage's and Wolff's characters are.
Pig doesn't really have a villain. It just has characters who have done what they thought was best to get through in a life that doesn't hesitate to decimate all hope. Characters recognize that actions they have taken may be unsavory, but the thing that sets these characters apart is that they do feel bad for these actions. In the end, everyone is just looking to regain what life has taken from them.
Don’t expect to feel good after this, but don’t expect to feel bad, either. Expect to have a feeling in the pit of one’s stomach that isn’t likely to leave soon.
Life is hard, and no one gets through it unscathed. Bad things happen to good people and sometimes these people are irreparably damaged by way of their life's circumstances. It's no one's fault, it's just the natural progression of one's time on earth.
Pig is a film that understands human emotion and uses a somewhat “out there” plot to reveal character motivations and feelings that should be relatable to anyone who has experienced life's devastating shortcomings. For those looking for films that promote introspection and reflection, Pig is your movie. It is available to buy on all streaming services and is in theatres in some cities.