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Pig Movie Review: A Flab-Free Tense Gem That Resurrects Nicolas Cage





Director: Michael Sarnoski

Writers: Michael Sarnoski,Vanessa Block

Cast: Nicolas Cage,Alex Wolff,Adam Arkin

Plot: A truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregon wilderness must visit Portland to find the mysterious person who stole his beloved foraging pig.

Rating: *** ½

Pig Movie Review: A film with a title  as   bland and crass as movie could only be mocking its own lack of affectation. Sure  enough, this is a  film not to be taken lightly. Because  it doesn’t  seem to take itself lightly. It means business. Serious business. And the  first-time director Michael Sarnoski is  as  no-nonsense as his hero  Rob Feld who  is a truffle forager  by profession and the pig who digs  out the truffles from the  forest, where Rob lives alone,is his  best friend , only friend.There are voices  from the past. But only the pig in  the present.

The  kidnapping(pignapping?) of the  animal(simple addressed as The Pig) could  have signaled  high comedy. You know,  the one about the man’s unhealthy kinky obsession with  the beast friend?

There is nothing even remotely funny about Rob’s  distress at  the movie’s  disappearance. He  must find the pig, come what may. From this  point in the  taut lean mean  and  irate  plot,  the mood becomes that of  a suspense thriller where the hero  goes looking for his  missing love, and so what if  it is  a pig? None of anyone’s business.

Not that he asks for it. But Rob is aided  by  a much younger far more sociable  guy called Aamir, played with  candour and  feeling by Alex Wolff. But make no mistake. This film belongs to Nicolas Cage. He owns the  film and his  character,  suffusing Rob with a kind of all-pervasive doom desolation and rage that  would stop at nothing to get back what  it loves.

I have to confess I had stopped watching Nicolas Cage’s  venomous  vomit of  endless films after something called Mandy where  Cage’s girlfriend had been burnt  in a sack by some cult criminals  before  his  obligatory vendetta spree.

Cage escapes his vicious circle  of vendetta in movie to portray a man who has  nothing   to lose…except his  life and  a pet pig. For the  director to create empathy for such an eccentric choice of partnership is  near-impossible in theory.  On screen first-time  director Michael Sarnoski converts the  potentially ludicrous  plot into  a haunting searing parable of  loneliness and redemption.

 Rob’s search is never  robbed of dignity. The narration takes him through various vicious violent  encounters with people in the town that he once ruled as  masterchef. He then became the hermit who would rather befriend the movie than prepare the pork.

 The  film’s respect for its protagonist’s choices  in life is  embedded in every frame.You would be  hard  put to find a  single superfluous  irrelevant  moment  in the plot. It is a triumph  on many levels. It brings an almost unbearable level of tension  into   Rob’s search for  his animal that  metamorphoses  into much more than  just  a beast for us the audience. That is the true magic of  the  creation. It  makes us believe in the  hero’s belief when he gives us no  reason to go by his convictions.

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