If you’ve read some of the advertising pieces about Pig then you will probably be left with the idea that the film is a weird version of John Wick starring Mr Cage himself. That simply isn’t the case Pig goes a lot further than that and I happened to find it one of the most intriguing films of 2021.
Before I go any further I do have to say that I think I got a lot more out of this film because I had seen the documentary The Truffle Hunters last year. To understand what happens in Pig it helps if you know that the truffle industry is a lot like the illegal drug trade. Truffles sell for thousands of dollars and as a result, the world in which they are sold is like a Mafia inspired empire where ‘dealers’ will do whatever they can do to screw each other over (even to criminal heights) while the hunters are often under-paid and find themselves at war with each other.
In Pig Cage (Gone In 60 Seconds) plays Rob a truffle hunter who uses a skilled pig to find his wares. His truffles then go to Amir (Alex Wolff – Old), a gifted young businessman who wants to get out from under his father’s shadow.
While Amir makes money off Rob’s truffles he pays Rob in food and necessary items so Rob can live off the grid along in the woods. The two barely speak two words during the transaction but that all changes one night when Rob is attacked in his hut and his beloved pig is stolen.
Rob then demands that Amir takes him to Portland to search for his pig. Soon Amir finds himself pulled into a world of underground fight clubs, run by the mysterious Edgar (Darius Pierce – Grimm), and discovers that there a lot of secrets about Rob’s life that reveals him in a whole different light and has the potential to open doors for him that could enhance his career.
If you go into Pig expecting a violent shoot ‘em up revenge story then you are going to be severely disappointed. Despite the whole fight club storyline, Rob is the kind of guy who lets his words and cooking do the talking rather than guns and fists. The way this movie has been portrayed in its advertising is kind of disrespectful to the work that filmmaker Michael Sarnoski (Olympia) has put into the film.
I found Pig to be an intelligent film. Its use of conversations and dialogue is almost theatre-like while Sarnoski builds on the characterisation throughout the film in such a way that Rob becomes one of the fascinating characters to have surfaced on screen in a number of years. The character growth that we also see occur with Amir reveals a filmmaker that is going to become an award winner as his career grows.
The shining light of this film though is Nicolas Cage. I am an unashamed Cage fan but even I have to admit that he has made some terribly bad films over the recent few years. To see him return in a film as brilliant as this is a blessing in disguise. Thanks to the well-crafted screenplay from Sarnoski we once again get to see Cage return to his best as a character actor who has been dangerously underrated throughout the years.
Pig is more the kind of film for those of us who love artistic films but the mere fact that this is a film that showcases the skills of a filmmaker who is going to make it big in Hollywood should be enough to spark the interest of any serious cinephile. An unraveling screenplay that takes its audience on an incredible journey is the foundation of a film that is one of the biggest surprises of 2021.