Nicolas Cage seems in “Pig” as a bloodied frontiersman akin to Hugh Glass out of “The Revenant” or the eponymous “Jerimiah Johnson.” And like Hugh Glass and Jerimiah Johnson, Cage’s Robin Feld is searching for retribution. Retribution for one thing that was taken from him — one thing which he liked dearly. Hugh Glass: his son. Jeremiah Johnson: his total household. And Robin Feld: his pig. Hell hath no fury like a Nic Cage scorned.
Or so the movie may slyly lead you to imagine, anyway. Quite the opposite, and far to my shock, writer-director Michael Sarnoski’s debut function “Pig” sees Cage at his most considerate and understated. Whereas the character of Robin Feld could appear like a hardened mountain man, he’s in truth solely a reclusive truffle forger who earns an apparently meager dwelling for himself and his truffle pig by promoting what he finds to Amir, a younger entrepreneur lively within the up to date restaurant ecosystem of Portland. As soon as a famend chef within the area, Feld vanished from the scene 15 years earlier than the occasions of “Pig” happen, mysteriously sequestering himself away to a ramshackle cabin within the Oregon wilderness.
At first, the movie puzzled me. I went in anticipating one thing of a gritty revenge story, and the movie’s first act does certainly deliberately mislead on this path, although it sadly fails to seek out its footing throughout this time. Robin is assaulted and his pig is dragged from the cabin kicking and squealing. The following morning, he units off on foot within the path of the town. What follows is a dreamy nighttime odyssey via Portland punctuated by offbeat dialogue and scenes of questionable depth. I discovered myself not realizing what to really feel as the parable of legendary chef Robin Feld achieved comical proportions throughout a dramatic reveal in an underground preventing ring. Lastly, you assume, we’re going to see what Robin’s made from. However he’s solely crushed to a pulp.
As soon as the movie lastly escaped that sport of the primary act, no matter it was enjoying at, the items began to click on collectively. It was round then that I started to pay attention to meals as a recurring component in lots of scenes. Oftentimes it’s the focus, both of the dialogue happening, of the digicam, or each. We’re invited to replicate on our personal profound experiences with meals, be it one thing as plain as a persimmon or as farcically elaborate because the up to date delicacies on present; embracing this theme, the movie finally, delicately, lastly settles into itself.
“Pig” doesn’t have a good time meals in the identical vein as “Ratatouille” or “Tampopo.” It isn’t spirited; it’s restrained. It isn’t joyous; it’s somber. And it’s not a celebration, however a solemn meditation. I wouldn’t name it a gradual burn, as that may suggest that the movie developments in direction of an ignition. “Pig” is devoid of any such explosiveness. I’d solely name it gradual. Too gradual for some, maybe. Actually too gradual for the couple sitting within the row behind me within the theater, who walked out of the movie simply earlier than the midway level. I’ll admit, it took me about that lengthy to even grasp what I used to be watching. However I believe the movie deserves an opportunity. I eagerly await Sarnoski’s sophomore directorial outing, in addition to no matter Cage surprises us with subsequent.