Pig ★★★★

The 2021 Catch-Up Project

I wonder just how much more attention Pig would have received if Nicolas Cage had done it 20 to 30 years ago.

I made the point on my Prisoners of the Ghostland review that Cage was showing signs of taking more and more interesting projects again, after so many years floundering in terrible DTV shit. And Pig would certainly qualify as something more interesting.

That being said, I remember when Pig was announced and much of the reaction was along the lines of "lol Cage is doing a revenge movie about his pet pig, wtf happened to this guy". He's having trouble shaking off the run of movies he chose to take, and while Pig has been superbly received critically, it seems a wider audience is slower on the uptake because it's still surrounded by dribs and drabs of nondescript stuff that Cage has taken on relatively recently. I mean, what the fuck is Jiu Jitsu?

Released alongside some of Cage's best work, and during a stellar period for his career, Pig would have received a lot more attention and deservedly so. These observations are not especially important in relation to the quality of the film itself, nor to Cage's performance, but I do think it would be a great shame if it doesn't receive wider attention because of all this.

Is it Cage's best work? I think it's almost impossible to say because of the peaks he has reached as an actor, but in terms of emotional restraint and his ability to fully commit to the isolation this man has chosen, it's possibly his most mature. And reigned in. I can take or leave his trademark 'Crazy Cage' stuff - it has its place but not in a fair few of the films I've seen it in. So it was good to see Michael Sarnoski, in a really terrific and cultured debut, focus on Cage's less showy talents.

In many ways Pig isn't new as relates to its story, and perhaps I could have rated it higher. It just seems to me that there have been a *lot* of dramas in the last few years about people seeking isolation to escape from a traumatic past, even a fair few that have a 'revenge' slant to them. So even with the porcine twist to these ideas, there's not a whole lot that is new here, and maybe I'm a little burnt out on this sort of thing.

It's the direction that Sarnoski chooses to go, actually steering it into more peaceful waters in its final third, that helps to make it stand out. It's also a fairly stiff take-down of upper-class dining (that "I'm sorry, do you need medical attention?" line was SO good on this front) and, weirdly, because of its truffle backdrop would make a fine companion piece to the recent documentary The Truffle Hunters.

Nice pig as well. As I'm allergic to dogs, maybe I might consider my own therapy pig.