This was always going to be an interesting movie. A man goes in search of his missing pig, starring Nic Cage. That is it. That is the pitch. Here’s my review of Pig.
Peppa Sauce Pig
Directed by Michael Sarnoski and co-written with Vanessa Black, it mainly stars Nicholas Cage, Alex Wolff, and Adam Arkin. There is more cast, but these are the main players. The plot is a simple one :
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.
Now, when I first heard about this, I thought of John Wick, but this movie is not John Wick. John Wick is about a man revenging his dead dog, which then turns into an epic action movie, full of guns, bullets, blood, and more guns.
Pig is a very slow, methodical, slow burn of a movie. There are moments of mild action, but it is very much this slow build. It is played out in three parts, each introduced by a title card with ingredients or a recipe.
We find Rob (Cage), a loner, living in the woods with his pig. They live a simple life. They look for truffles and sell them to Amir (Wolff) who is a young and up-and-coming seller, maybe a restaurateur. Amir has an expensive car and obviously sells the truffles a lot more than he pays Rob for them.
One night, Rob is attacked and the pig is taken. The only person Rob really knows is Amir, and so he calls him and they head to the city to find the pig. As they go into the underbelly of the city we learn about Rob’s past and Amir’s future. The movie is all about the restaurant business and Rob used to be a chef.
I’m not going to spoil the rest of it, but the overall movie is pretty good. The cinematography is amazing in places, really beautifully shot, and well-edited. As I said, it is very slow and methodical. The cast is great, brilliant in places, with Cage giving an amazing performance. Some of his scenes are simply stunning. Wolff is great, however, Adam Arkin was a little disappointing. He plays the ‘villain’ of the story and wasn’t recognizable enough for the role, in my opinion.
The overall movie was good, however, the more it went on the less I found I understood. I’m still not 100% sure why the pig was taken in the first place, even after the movie ended I was still unclear of the endgame.
I don’t mind movies where, as a viewer, you have to make up your own mind about things that are left unexplained. Ambiguity is fine, however, for major plot points of the story, it can be pretty annoying.
The end of the movie was very odd too. It just kind of ended! Again, I’m all up for odd endings but the way this movie ended made it feel as if the story had not fully finished. I didn’t feel anything at the end of the film. I wasn’t happy, sad, angry, disappointed….anything.
After a while, this then started to annoy me. The entire movie had a pretty compelling story, I was absorbed by the journeys of the characters, but I don’t feel it had a conclusion, so I had no closure.
I’m not a smart man, so maybe I’m not intellectual enough to understand the end. Or possibly the writer is not as clever as he thinks. Maybe he just didn’t feed enough information through for the audience to get it?
I found I had more interest in Amir’s story, than I did with Rob looking for his pig, but maybe that was the point?
I’m sure there are people out there who stroke their beards, adjust their monocle, and examine the hiding meaning in this prolific and understated work that the common man will never truly appreciate if they haven’t studied the work of Tarkovsky in as much detail as they have. I’m not one of them.
The cast is amazing, the direction is good, the story is interesting to a point. You may watch it and totally get it and think it’s a brilliant bit of work. I won’t be watching it again, but then, I’m a simpleton.