When the first trailer dropped for the new movie Pig, a lot of people had the same reaction. The story, about a man who goes on a journey to recover his truffle hunting pig seemed like a wild premise for a film, and so it was little shock that the lead in the film was being played by Nicolas Cage. At this point, Cage has made a career of starring in a long series of offbeat films. But based on the reviews for the new movie, Pig is something a little different. Some of Cage's recent work has been seen as disposable by critics, but Pig is apparently quite good.
Pig is currently sitting on Rotten Tomatoes with a 98% rating, with only a single negative review. Everything else is just glowing. While Pig has a certain look to it, like it's maybe a John Wick knockoff where a lost dog is replaced by a lost pig, the story is actually much deeper and more complex. While the New York Times says the film can be so dark that it can sometimes get to be a little much, the movie's surreal premise is part of what makes it beautiful.
While Pig can at times feel engulfed by its own sullenness, there's a rigor to the filmmaking and a surreal beauty to Pat Scola's images that seal our investment in Robin's fate.
Is the premise of Pig a little wild? Absolutely, and perhaps nobody else could bring such a strange concept to life quite like Nicolas Cage. RogerEbert.com's review says the movie will continually keep you guessing, and that going in to it knowing as little as possible about what the movie really is, is the best way to go in. And while you won't know where it's going, you won't forget what you've seen anytime soon.
There are aspects of it that cannot be said to "work" in any conventional filmmaking sense, but it's hard to imagine that the writer/director, Michael Sarnoski, and its star and co-producer, Nicolas Cage, lost a minute of sleep over anything like that, and its commitment to its own oddball vision is what makes it linger in the mind.
What seems clear from the general response to Pig is that, while the premise of a man on the hunt for his missing pig might be inherently silly, that's ok, because that's not really what the movie is about. The word "poetic" is popping up in many reviews and it seems that Pig is really about creating a mood and a feeling more than telling a story. According to most, including Slashfilm, the movie succeeds in that goal.
Pig is not the movie you think it is. It's something far more beautiful, and far more painful. It is an existential meditation on the search for something. Anything. A kind of cosmic loneliness envelopes this film. It's extraordinary.
In the end, however, it’s not enough; Cage may be mesmerizing in every scene, but only because audiences are anticipating some spontaneous, chaotically absurd freak-out (utilizing a very special set of skills), which this production just isn’t able to deliver.
If you're looking for John Wick, but with Nicolas Cage and a pig, then it is clear you will be disappointed. If, however, you're looking for something a bit more, a bit deeper, then perhaps Pig is a story to go looking for.