Nicolas Cage stars in Pig as a truffle farmer who lives in a shack in the middle of the forests of Oregon. The only company he has is his sole pig, which he loves dearly, that helps him find the truffles he sells off to Alex Wolff. On one fateful night, his pig is stolen from him in a violent home invasion. Cage sets off with Wolff at his side in a hunt through the dark underbelly of the restaurant industry of Portland to search for his beloved pig.
From that set up, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is Nicolas Cage’s attempt at following in the footsteps of his similarly aged colleagues; Keanu Reeves and Bob Odenkirk. Pig has a similar set up to the likes of John Wick and Nobody but its follow through is much less fast paced and high octane. Instead, Pig takes a much more nuanced, slow burning approach to the aforementioned thrillers. Rather than beating up various thugs who have varying degrees of responsibility to the crime’s against Cage’s Robin, he simply searches relentlessly from high end restaurants to dodgy back alley dens. He hopes to find any sort of clues whilst also putting himself through hell to do it.
Of course it would have been amazing to see Nicolas Cage fighting waves of gangsters all in aide of finding a pig, and it would be very on brand for his recent style of films. But it just wouldn’t make sense for the character that’s been set up. Robin Ward is an ex-chef and a farmer. He certainly seems tough, but he wouldn’t have anywhere near the abilities of a hitman such as John Wick. This far more character-driven approach to a hunt/revenge film will not be for everyone but it’s certainly another film to add to the evidence of Cage’s abilities as an actor.
Alex Wolff too shows off a fantastic performance as an at first arrogant young supposed up and comer in the industry who starts to become more aware of the dark world he’s let himself into. His character has by far the best arc of the story and all of the scenes between him and Cage are the absolute best of the film.
Pig can feel quite slow at points despite being 90 minutes. That’s not much of an issue, however, given the beautiful cinematography and somber soundtrack. The story too for the most part is quite original if still a bit predictable. It’s rare that films this dark take place in various restaurants, so it’s a refreshing sight. That being said though, there’s a scene right near the end that seems to have been ripped straight from Ratatouille and it’s hard to work out if that was intentional or not.
While this film may leave some Cage-philes a little disappointed and can be quite slow at points, it still serves a up a rather tasty blend of dark drama mixed with fantastic performances from a stellar cast and solid directing. It’s sadly unlikely that this will have much awards attention, but hopefully this is the film that will convince the various bodies that Nicolas Cage is ready to get his second Oscar.
Pig releases in cinemas on August 20 and goes digital on August 23.