Nicholas Cage is in an interesting stage of his career - with films like "Mandy" and "The Color of Space" showcasing the Academy Award winning actor's willingness to embrace his over-the-top persona and use it in some truly unique projects.
While his latest "Pig" is definitely another project that is far from the standard Hollywood fare, moviegoers expecting another totally bonkers experience might be a bit disappointed at first - only to realize they have once again been introduced to something truly unique and special. This is a very restrained Cage, showcased in all his glory in a fascinating film about grief and loss that is one of the most memorable films of 2021 to date.
In "Pig" Cage plays Rob, a former chef who has dropped off the grid after a tragic event. Rob now lives in the Oregon wilderness with his beloved pig, a truffle hunter who has drawn the attention of a young man named Amir (Alex Wolff).
Amir buys truffles from Rob, the only connection Rob has with the outside world.
Rob's sheltered life is shattered, when he is attacked in the middle of the night and his pig abducted. Rob turns to Amir to bring him back into town and help him recover his prized possession.
On the surface the plot of "Pig" sounds like it is going to play out like some sort of "John Wick" type of revenge flick with Cage dialed up to 11 on the crazy scale. That craziness never reaches the level you might expect and that is what makes director Michael Sarnoski's film (he also co-wrote the script with Vanessa Block) so special.
The deeper Rob's quest to find his pig, the more we learn about his past and how one incident has left him a broken man unable to move on. He is still grieving the event more than a decade later.
And as Rob's wounds begin to fester, we learn that he isn't the only one unable to let go of the past.
"Pig" understands loss and grief in a way few films can, with Cage delivering a masterfully restrained performance. This is as controlled and calculated work as he delivered in "Leaving Las Vegas," another film that dealt frankly with grief.
But to just put "Pig" and "Leaving Las Vegas" in the same basket is really not fair to "Pig." This is a beautiful piece of work that will resonate long after the end credits roll.