Nicolas Cage’s newest project, PIG, sounds like a typical Cage B-movie with one look at the plot description. Cage plays a truffle hunter isolated in the Oregon wilderness who must return to his past in the city of Portland once his prized truffle pig is stolen from him. While the plot is admittedly ridiculous, this film has far more on its mind then just being a revenge movie similar to John Wick. It instead is focused on being a meditative drama about grief, confronting the demons of one’s past, and attempting to move on with life. It doesn’t necessarily succeed at being an emotional and engaging narrative, but in the end the meaning resonates enough to justify the short watch.
While many people are raving about Cage’s performance here, I felt that the highlight of this movie is Alex Wolff, who also has the most well-built character arc of the narrative. The core of the movie is clearly meant to revolve around Cage and the uncovering of his past, but I found myself attached to Wolff’s character/performance and his struggles far more. Both characters are recovering from relationships in their past that haunt them, and they both find themselves staring the troubles in the face through the course of the search for the pig. The main reason this movie works is due to the meaning that is eventually uncovered regarding Cage’s mysterious past and of the pig itself.
What prevents this film from being the emotional masterpiece it wants to be is the pacing and presentation of plot elements. For most people, PIG will be just a series of weird culinary-related excursions that add up to a deeply unsatisfying ending. While the deeper meaning behind all of these odd events is the true message, I only processed the point once the movie finished. Because of this, it was impossible for me to truly feel the emotion behind the grief and heartbreak while I was viewing it.
However, PIG could be successfully analyzed for its literary motifs for days on end, which may be what director/writer Michael Sarnoski was aiming for regardless. This is definitely not a film for everyone, but those who want a deep and thought-provoking experience that may not always make sense will find meaning here. The film definitely rewards multiple viewings and it cannot be said that a movie quite like it has been released this year so far.