Nicolas Cage, for all his up-and-down performances over the years, is still one of the most prolific actors in the business today. Sure, he’s had more duds than you might think and churns those out quite often, even as recently as earlier this year with Willy’s Wonderland. But then you take a look at his other movies, especially in the past couple of years, like Color Out of Space and Mandy, and they are great. Anytime Cage has a new movie, for all intents and purposes, it always grabs you. And so when a movie called Pig starring an actor like him arrives, it certainly will get your attention. However, Pig is not what you’re expecting. And that’s more than fine, thanks to Cage’s performance and the film’s subject material we see play out over its 90-minute runtime.
The story is as simple as the film’s title: someone steals a truffle hunter’s pig, and the hunter returns home to find it. Told in three parts, it’s not the type of revenge-style thriller you might think would blend perfectly with the usual madness we’ve come to know from Cage’s previous performances. At this point, you might be disappointed to hear this, and I get it. Who doesn’t like a raged Cage on the screen? I know I do, but I also like to see variety from one of the best actors of our time. While it’s labeled as a thriller, you could argue that it’s actually a drama of sorts. Pig is a unique and meditative journey about someone’s loss of something close to them, and Cage sells it.
Nicolas Cage’s great performance as Rob the truffle hunter is one of his best roles in who knows how long. As we peel back layers from Rob’s past from when he was out in the wilderness away from civilization for over a decade, Pig becomes even more fascinating. Rob’s interactions with other characters open up more questions and possibilities as to what happened, and what could have happened, if Rob hadn’t gone off the grid. And as we witness the shock of other characters upon seeing the return of Rob, Cage sells us on the role as he reopens old wounds from a past that seemed so promising for his character. Also popping up in Pig giving good performances in supporting roles are the up-and-comer Alex Wolff (Hereditary), who plays a guy staying in touch with Rob, and Adam Arkin (Monk), a man shrouded in mystery involving Rob’s pig.
There are many possible ways you may feel about Pig once the credits roll. There certainly is nothing divisive here, but your feeling about the film depends on your take on the journey you just witnessed. For me, Pig delivers on its premise, thanks to a great performance from Nicolas Cage that makes this better than the concept of a revenge thriller where Cage’s character descends into bloody madness. Seeing Cage front-and-center of this character study is delectable in itself. And I for one cannot wait (or hope) to see him collaborate with other filmmakers like director Michael Sarnoski for similar films like this.