Since Joe (and The Frozen Ground) eight years ago, critics have repeatedly attached the “return to form” emblem to Nicolas Cage’s performances. Following next are Mandy (2018), Color Out of Space (2019), to Willy’s Wonderland which will be released in early 2021. As if the praise is not sincere, but only so that the review sounds “sexy”.
That streak of strong acting amongst that pile of bad direct-to-video titles proves that Cage never left (at least since Joe). But Pig is different. Michael Sarnoski’s directorial and writing debut brings us to see another color of Cage, stepping out of the “Nouveau Shamanic” style. Pig is a film that deceives various expectations, both regarding the actor and the genre. Top Movie Site
Cage plays Rob, a truffle collector who lives alone in a remote cabin in the middle of the woods. Well, not really alone, because there is the beloved pig, who helps Rob collect high-quality truffles, to sell to Amir (Alex Wolff), who supplies them to various fancy restaurants.
Until one night Rob had an uninvited guest who stole his pig. With the help of Amir, the search for Rob begins, which helps to reveal secrets related to his past. Rob wasn’t just a loner, middle-aged man. Sounds like the premise of a revenge story that will go crazy in the second half when Nicolas Cage releases all his anger? I thought so too, and that’s where Pig cheats expectations.
Sarnoski uses a medium tempo, tends to be slow at some points, but the progress of the plot is not dragging, where each phase takes place as needed. We visit a world that is different than it seems, with individuals who are different than it seems, in a film that is also different from what it seems. Pig provokes curiosity every step of the way.
Cage becomes a magnet, which shows how the greatest mystery is the human heart. Especially in the early half, his eyes were not filled with anger. Not that it doesn’t have. That anger (as well as other basic human emotions) has been erased by exhaustion. Fatigue that was preceded by deep sorrow, before turning into indifference. Best Movie
Rob is a nihilist. Why care about existence, if one day we too will die, be buried, drown, like people from tens of thousands of years ago? He didn’t care so much, he didn’t want to take a shower, or at least clean his bloodied face, even when sitting in an expensive restaurant. “For what?”, he might think.
In the same restaurant, Sarnoski once again played with the expectations of the audience, who probably thought that Rob (finally) would lose his temper. But instead of muscles, Rob uses brains. Rather than physically, he chose to lead the opponent’s psyche. Later, when the inner turmoil is impossible to control, Cage does not throw tantrums as we often encounter. His tantrums are more controlled.
The third act is the culmination of Sarnoski’s efforts to tear apart the formula for an alternative film with a sad theme, which usually appears dark and is also dominated by pessimism. The conclusion is hopeful, which may be accused of being naive by some. For me, Pig is not naive, but rather an attempt not to lose heart, in the midst of any dark and difficult conditions. Movie Review