“Pig,” November 29, 2021, Hulu. I’ve not been a big fan for Nicholas Cage for a very long time. His macho posturing and faux sensitivity have left me cold. Or worse. I’ve not liked the films he was in either, which certainly didn’t help. And his tax problems left him doing whatever he had to to make a living. Not a good combination. And yet I was excited by what I read about this latest film. And it is the best of his work that I’ve seen in decades. An interesting premise, a mostly fine script (the ending is less than fully satisfying), and exceptional acting by Cage and the supporting characters, including Adam Arkin in a fine role. Cage works against the type he’s been stuck in for so very long.
Rob (Cage) is a truffle hunter living in the woods with his truffle pig. They share his primitive cabin. He hasn’t had a shower or shave in forever. He collects truffles with his pig and sells them to Amir (an excellent Alex Wolff) a young food purveyor on the make working to provide for the elite restaurants of Portland, Oregon. Amir is struggling to free himself from the grasp of his father, Darius (Arkin), a dominant and dominating force in the industry. And then, in the dead of night, Rob is attacked and the pig is stolen. What follows is Rob’s efforts to retrieve his pig. The story peels back the layers of his life and provides a remarkable window into the industry, the pain that led him into the woods, and his internal life.
It is deeply moving in many parts. Cage avoids the posturing that marks his last decades of work. A fine job of acting. Humility becomes him. Perhaps he was able to reach into the hard times he’s experienced to evoke real empathy for his character. He’s helped along by a good script coauthored by director Michael Sarnoski, and his costars, who keep the pacing and tone under control. This could easily have degenerated. It doesn’t. People will either like this one or hate it. Count me in the