Sensitive. Silent. Stoic. These aren’t words you typically associate with Nicolas Cage, but “Pig” is far from a typical Cage movie.
The Oscar-winning actor has emerged from over a decade in the direct-to-DVD void to give one of the best performances of his nearly 40-year career.
Cage plays Robin “Rob” Feld, a former legend in the Portland culinary world, living alone in the woods with his beloved truffle pig after the death of his wife. To put it simply, the pig is taken from Rob, and he has to go on an odyssey through the underbelly of Portland’s fine-dining scene to recover her.
That’s it for the plot from me, though. “Pig” is much more of an actor’s showcase than a movie you watch for the narrative in much the same way “John Wick” isn’t a movie that’s really about a man avenging the death of his dog.
The real joy of “Pig” comes from watching Rob slowly work through his grief by using empathy, rather than the ultra-violence viewers are accustomed to from Cage, and culinary expertise.
Cage’s slow-burning performance has understandably been the main talking point around “Pig,” but Alex Wolff (“Hereditary,” “Bad Education,” the “Jumanji” sequels) also shines as Rob’s unlikely partner Amir, an aspiring mover and shaker in the restaurant scene who is desperately trying to escape from his powerful father’s shadow.
While the acting is the centerpiece of the movie, the visual setting of Portland cannot be understated. The film wouldn’t work in any other setting. The drizzly, grey cinematography lends “Pig” a distinct look that visually elevates Rob’s struggle with mourning and pent-up sorrow.
First-time director Michael Sarnoski, working from a script co-written with Vanessa Block, has crafted a simmering, overcast film filled with moments of poignant melancholy.
Overall, “Pig” is a new twist on a familiar dish.
Last Minute Thoughts: “Vampire’s Kiss” is a top three Cage movie, and no one will ever convince me otherwise.
We’re just past the halfway point of 2021, and “Pig” is easily the frontrunner for best movie of the year.