‘Pig’ Sees Nicolas Cage Staring Down His Demons

A promotional image from 'Pig'. Nicolas Cage is to the right of the image, gazing down the camera, only half is bearded face in shot. the rest of the image is black.
NEON

Nicolas Cage stars as Robin Feld, a grizzled truffle farmer living a solitary life in the Oregon wilderness with his pet pig. His only contact with civilisation comes in the form of Amir (Alex Wolff), who he sells his scavenged supplies to. One night, Rob is awoken from his sleep by an unwelcome disturbance: a group of faceless intruders have broken into his cabin and, after attacking him, kidnap his precious four-legged companion.

Robin knows he cannot hope to find his pig without venturing back into the modern world. He calls Amir and asks for his help, and the latter, however begrudgingly, agrees. After all, if there is no pig, Robin cannot locate the truffles and as a result, the entire chain of business will break down. 

Upon receiving word from other truffle buyers that a ‘city boy’ has taken the pig, the peculiar duo set off together to Portland to track him down. Once a prominent name in the culinary scene, Rob pays a visit to his former contacts, exhibiting a deadly determination to do whatever he needs to bring his pig home alive. But navigating the city’s underground requires Rob to confront not only a civilisation that has moved on without him but has shunned him as well, in addition to the shady figures and lingering regrets of his past. 

Though reminiscent in tone to The Witch and Winter’s Bone, and despite the ‘R’ rating, writer and director Michael Sarnoski’s Pig is not a slasher nor is it even a revenge thriller that lacks in plot (ominous looking poster notwithstanding). Rather, it is a drama, with threads of muted horror woven underneath the surface. The action begins just ten minutes in, planting the seeds of anger, mystery and devotion into Rob’s character, which allows them to bloom completely throughout the 90 minute runtime. 

A still from 'Pig'. Robin (Nicolas Cage) is shown in a wide shot, sat on the floor of a rough cabin, a truffle pig is on the floor sniffing the ground next to him. They are in a forest setting and the image is dark and still.
NEON

The incorporation of shadows is consistent, and can be interpreted as both a hinderance, a cloak that obscures the truth behind the pig’s kidnapping and a sanctuary, especially for Cage’s Robin; due to past events, his life has taken on a grayness, lacking in colour, emotion and human connection, so what better place for a washed-up man than the darkness? 

The cast itself is quite small, with Cage and Wolff shouldering the majority of responsibilities to drive each scene forward and make it compelling. Cage embodies Robin’s stoicism and somber independence well, while Wolff’s Amir fulfils the necessary role of the ever-reluctant, ever-sarcastic accomplice. The pair is nearly as opposite as they come, yet the relationship that exists between them, however strange and uncommon, is tender. Each man just wants to be seen and without realising it, they begin to fill that void for one another. The frequent use of close-up camera angles allow the audience to focus on nothing else but interpreting and understanding each expression, wrinkle, furrow exhibited by the characters as a display of their turmoil. 

Split up into three parts and accompanied by an epic classic score every now and then, Pig is almost a modern ballad, a song, a story to be told when the night is dark, and the world is still. Sarnoski’s piece is a case study of isolation and reverence. Whatever silly notions such a title may conjure in one’s mind, it presents a poignant narrative of grief and acceptance. “We don’t get a lot of things to really care about” so best treasure them while we can. 

Pig is available in cinemas and on VOD in the US from July 16th

by Kacy Hogg

Kacy is an English Lit student living in the Great White North (no not Winterfell unfortunately), Canada. Her favorite films include the Harry Potter series, CinderellaCaptain America: The Winter SoldierThe Hangover, and Lady Bird. She’s also an avid binge-watcher of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. You can follow her on Twitter here: @KacHogg95

1 reply »

  1. This is so beautifully written and the basic storyline reminds of me Cage’s compelling avenging protagonist on MANDY while the angle of the stolen pig takes me back to John Wick who started his action-packed sojourn after his beloved dog’s killing.

    Like

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