Hollywood legend Nicolas Cage walks the line between serenity and all-consuming darkness in his heaviest ever role in Pig. And cinema fans will have their eyes opened with the depth of his performance in this one.
Living alone in the Oregon wilderness, truffle hunter Rob (Nicolas Cage) returns to Portland to find the person who stole his beloved pig.
From the moment this film starts, Pig is not what you expect it to be. Writer and director Michael Sarnoski brings unmatched creativity and intelligence to this very unique cinematic offering that mixes together with a diverse range of genres and emotions to tell a story of one broken man who has been beaten down by life, and who has one chance to get back the thing that means the most to him. Shot with a stark eye for detail, and with limited dialogue, Sarnoski focuses on the physical and emotional behaviours of his characters in telling this story, and the result is a very hypnotic piece of work. Sarnoski delivers Pig to the audience as an almost cinematic haiku, and the experience of this film pulls you in deeper into its character-driven storytelling.
At the centre of Pig is Hollywood legend Nicolas Cage, who has crafted a career as a Hollywood wildman and who has never shied away from a challenging and intensive performance. Here in Pig as a legendary, but now broken down chef Robin “Rob” Feld, Cage is a man who is beset by sorrow and suffering, and who after a dramatic and heavy past loss has fallen away in reclusiveness out in the wilderness of Oregon. His only solace is his prized truffle-hunting pig, but when she is taken from him he swears to bring her back and this crafts a path for Cage to walk unlike we’ve ever seen him walk before.
With a performance that is based solely on emotional expression and very little dialogue, Cage displays a complex and troubled man. Rob is a man of great dimension and depth and at different times we see Cage explode with an emotional intensity that will cause the audience to stand still. Cage delivers a performance that travels the entire emotional spectrum and via Sarnoski’s lens we get to peer inside of Rob’s unique mind, and it’s through Cage’s performance that audiences are brought deeper into this film’s layered narrative.
In my mind, Pig is a meditation on ideas of suffering, isolation, compassion and identity, and there’s plenty bubbling below the surface thanks to Sarnoski’s writing and direction. It’s a film with a very intellectual edge, and it asks the audience to really focus on its subject matter, which can sometimes be a rarity in today’s cinematic presentations. It’s clever and completely from left field, and audiences are also treated to one very layered and deep performance courtesy of Cage.
Pig is a film that you certainly won’t forget in a hurry, and Nicolas Cage delivers a performance that will completely change how you see him as a performer. It’s innovative in all the right ways, and audiences who are looking for something different to test them as viewers will be greatly rewarded here.
Image: MadMan Films