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Film Review – ‘Pig’ Spotlights a Melancholic Nicolas Cage Sentimentally Grieving His Past

People often cope with grief in drastically different ways, depending on the unique somber situations they’ve experienced throughout their lives. The process of how people manage the despair that accompanies those circumstances is emotionally and powerfully highlighted in the new thriller, Pig.

The melancholic drama marks the feature film writing and directorial debuts of Michael Sarnoski. The protagonist in Pig, who’s played by Nicolas Cage, perfectly highlights the filmmaker’s own personal sense of sorrow that he experienced following the death of his father, which served as the inspiration for the story

Pig follows Rob (Cage) a once acclaimed and popular chef in Portland who has taken refuge in the Oregonian wilderness in recent years, as he’s no longer able to cope with the demands of his life. He now finds solace living with his beloved title animal, who helps him hunt truffles. He then sells the food to up-and-coming restaurateur and businessman, Amir (Alex Wolff), who’s his only contact with the outside world.

But Rob’s simple and quiet existence is unexpectedly disrupted when burglars violently steal his pig. So he calls upon Amir for help in not only finding out who took the animal, but also carrying out his plan to get her back. Along the way, Rob and Amir unexpectedly start to get to know each other. Their new-found understanding of the other man leads them both to quickly bond over, and help each other heal, their personal traumas.

While Rob is driven by revenge for the loss of his cherished pig on a surface level, the movie ultimately works for its underlying intimate character study. Rob slowly but surely becomes one of cinema’s most sensible, self-possessed main characters, despite his disorderly physical appearance and unconventional lifestyle he has taken up in recent years.

Rob’s inability to initially acknowledge how his loss was affecting every aspect of his life made it difficult for him to fully commit to his new reality. But through his growing connection with Amir, the former chef surprisingly becomes a beacon of enlightenment about why it’s important for people to fully embrace their ever-evolving fate.

The emotional progression that Rob embarks on throughout the thriller is powerfully highlighted by Cage’s surprisingly nuanced performance. The actor, who garnered critical acclaim throughout his early career in the 1980s and ’90s, during which time he won his Academy Award for Best Actor for Leaving Las Vegas, has become more known for his over-the-top and outlandish performances in recent years. But Pig is a true testament to the emotional range and depth that Cage, who also served as a producer on the feature, has as he highlights his characters’ sorrows.

Cage’s stunningly heartfelt portrayal of Rob, who has limited outlets to share his sorrow during his reclusive odyssey, is perfectly highlighted by the drama’s enthralling cinematography. The film, which was shot by director of photography, Patrick Scola, perfectly reflect the protagonist’s emotions on screen.

Some of the most meaningful representation of Rob’s poignant journey include the gritty shots of his dilapidated cabin in the woods, which reflect his desire to lead a simple life as he contends with his emotional pain. Scola also incorporated captivating close-ups of Cage’s facial expressions as Rob bonds with Amir while they search for his pig.

Sarnoski proved his talent as an up-and-coming writer-director who deserves attention by creating an emotionally in-depth character-driven thriller that shines in part by Scola’s stunning cinematography. Also with the help of Cage’s heartfelt portrayal of the movie’s introverted protagonist, who’s finally able to manage his pain over the traumas in his life in a calm, serene matter, Pig is a thoughtful, contemplative reflection on the stages of grief.

Neon is releasing Pig in theaters on July 16, 2021.

Here’s the trailer of the film.


Karen Benardello
Karen Benardellohttps://cinemadailyus.com
As a life-long fan of films and television shows, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic in 2008. Karen has since been working in the press in New York City, including interviewing film and television casts and crews, writing movie and television news articles and reviewing films and televisions series. Some of her highlights include attending such local events as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and New York Comic-Con, as well as traveling across North America to attend such festivals as the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and the Toronto International Film Festival. She has been a member of the Women Film Critics Circle since 2012, and the New York Film Critics Online since 2019.


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