Most people consider Man on Fire to be one of Denzel Washington’s best films. He didn’t win many awards for his performance, and critics dismissed it without a second look (what do they know?), but the people know. What if you took the general premise of Man on Fire, but replaced the kidnapped girl with a kidnapped truffle pig? That’s essentially what happens in the latest Nicolas Cage vehicle, Pig.
You may be wondering how anyone can possibly compare Man on Fire to a movie about a truffle pig. Stop wondering because it’s fact. Rob (Nicolas Cage) is a hermit living in the forests of Oregon, near Portland. His pig assists him in finding truffles, which he sells to Amir (Alex Wolff) every Thursday. When his pig is kidnapped, he seeks Amir’s assistance in retrieving the animal at all costs.
Michael Sarnoski wrote and directed Pig, and his skill shines through in every scene. The film is well-paced, with a tight script that allows Cage to work his magic. There are no bloated or wasted scenes like what we see in many modern films. Pig gets straight to the point and never looks back as it confidently pushes toward its conclusion.
There’s very little exposition in Pig. You won’t find lengthy monologues that explain important plot elements. A three-minute scene with no dialogue from Cage informs the audience that Rob has been alone in the woods, Amir is his only current connection to the outside world, and he’s been living in the past for a very long time with little regard for anything outside the walls of his rundown cabin.
A similar scene near the end of the film shows Amir’s father, Darius (Adam Arkin), go from disinterested father to emotional wreck with very little dialogue. While the film is about finding a pig, the emotional undertones are significant. This is the best performance Cage has given in decades, and it will make you feel for this hermit and his stolen pig.
By the end of the film, you will care about Rob. You will care about Rob’s pig. You will care about Amir and the troubled relationship he has with his parents. You will even care about Rob’s baker, who you only meet for a few minutes. This film is filled to the brim with emotion, and you will feel for these characters.
While the film is overflowing with emotion, this is not an overly depressing movie by any means. Throughout most of Pig, it can’t even be categorized as a sad film. It’s just a well-written, well-directed, and well-acted piece of cinema. You may not think you’re interested in a film about a kidnapped pig, but if this movie is released around award season, it would not be surprising to see it gain a bit of recognition.
There are a few oddities about Pig, but that’s to be expected from a movie about a kidnapped hog. The story will throw the audience for a loop at times and absolutely keeps everyone on their toes throughout. Not every scene makes sense, but aside from a specific scene that would make Chuck Palahniuk smile, it’s a very coherent and impressive piece of filmmaking.
Pig had a muted theatrical release back in July, but the film has just been released on digital platforms. Clocking in at just 92 minutes, it doesn’t take long to get through Pig. If you’re in the mood for a drama, seek out Pig on your favorite video-on-demand platform. The story is strange but satisfying, and it’s the best you’ll see from Nicolas Cage for what could be the rest of his career.
Synopsis: A truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped.
Director: Michael Sarnoski
Writers: Vanessa Block, Michael Sarnoski
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin
Runtime: 1 Hour, 32 Minutes
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.