Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Rob (Nicolas Cage) is a truffle hunter who lives with his pig in the wilds of the Oregonian wilderness. He sells to Amir (Alex Wolff) weekly, but mainly keeps to himself. When his pig is kidnapped, Rob enlists Amir to help him confront his past and search for her in Portland.
PIG is a slow moving, methodical mediation on life, death, loss and regret. If you were expecting a John Wick-style Thriller with Cage bashing skulls in while screaming his face off, you are likely going to be disappointed. The Film is more about the journey these two characters take rather than the destination, merely using the pig’s disappearance as a catalyst for the story. Despite appearing at the beginning of the Film, she is more of a MacGuffin than she is a character. Instead, PIG is more of a head-trip that goes deep in certain instances and only skims the surface in others. It has a lot to say, yet thrives on being enigmatic and drawn out. I watched it over a week ago and I am still going over its little nuances in my head. I certainly appreciate the narrow scope of the Film, the luscious Cinematography and the breathtaking food dishes. I just wish there was a whole lot more to it than what we get.
Though Wolff is quite good here, what you have likely heard by now is the hyperbolic praise regarding Cage’s performance. It is quietly moving, emotionally-stirring and often completely devastating. He looks ridiculous – especially after one scene leaves him bloodied up quite badly – but you will not be able to take your eyes off him. His energy practically engulfs the screen. This is not the over-the-top Cage we have become accustomed to (though he does get a freak out or two), and I feel like that alone is what is getting the most attention. To me however, it feels like a fallacy because Cage has always been dialed into every role he takes on, often at the cost of looking completely deranged and unhinged. He is always intense and committed even in his most schlocky direct-to-VOD pictures. The man knows what he is capable of and knows just how to play into it. Calling his work in PIG his best performance since his Oscar-win in Leaving Las Vegas quite frankly ignores what a gifted and brilliant actor he has become, specifically in Lo-Fi genre work like this. So while it is a great performance, we really need to reset the expectations that have been thrust on top of it.
On one hand, you can say there is not a whole lot going on in PIG. At the same time though, it is deeper and more challenging than I can possibly give it credit for. It left me out of sorts and at a loss for words. I appreciated it more than I genuinely liked it, and feel like it will benefit from multiple revisits. Wolff continues to grow wonderfully as an Actor and Cage is terrific as always. If anything, I hope this means he will receive the respect he deserves.
Elevation Pictures release PIG into the Yonge & Dundas theatre in Toronto on Friday, July 23, 2021.
The Film is also playing at the following theatres:
Calgary – Canyon Meadows Cinema
Edmonton – Metro Cinema
Hamilton – Playhouse Cinema
Kingston – Screening Room
Kitchener – Apollo Cinema
Montreal – Cinema du Parc
Ottawa – Mayfair Theatre
Regina – Rainbow Golden Mile
Saskatoon – Roxy Theatre
Vancouver – Rio Theatre
Victoria – Vic Theatre
Waterloo – Princess Twin
*Please ensure you exercise caution in observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre.*