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"Pig" (2021) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #178 Gem Mint 10

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

"Pig" (2021)

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Writer: Vanessa Block, Michael Sarnoski

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin, Cassandra Violet, Julia Bray, Elijah Ungvary, Beth Harper, Brian Sutherland, David Shaughnessy, Gretchen Corbett, Sean Tarjyoto, Darius Pierce

Rated: R for language and some violence

Runtime: 1h 32m

Genre: Drama | Mystery | Thriller

Country: United States | United Kingdom

Language: English

Available on: Various VOD platforms

"A truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped."

You might like this if you like: Dramas, Mysteries, Thrillers, Michael Sarnoski, Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin, Cassandra Violet, Julia Bray, Elijah Ungvary, Beth Harper, Brian Sutherland, David Shaughnessy, Gretchen Corbett, Sean Tarjyoto, Darius Pierce


Nicolas Cage in 'Pig' (2021)

I was intrigued by the trailer when this movie was announced, even just hearing about it, as I am most definitely a fan of Nicolas Cage’s, I look forward to every new endeavor he journeys on.

Going in, I thought and started to feel it was very similar to ‘John Wick’s setup (which I also love for it’s own reasons), and this year’s ‘Nobody’ which I still don’t know how I feel about being violent for what felt like just the sake of being violent) but was pleasantly surprised with the beautiful sensitivity, care and calmness done by ‘Pig’ that I truly was not expecting. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I don’t normally try to remember trailers, and usually like to try to forget about them by the time I’m watching the actual film. I like going in dark if possible, though these days it’s hard not to be part of the hype prior to release at times.

Starring Nicolas Cage / Alex Wolff

Nicolas Cage, as expected, did a terrific job. I liked that he wasn't too 'Nicolas Cage' for this, though when he stole that bike and screamed at that lady I laughed my a** off and thought 'There he is!'. Alex Wolff was superb, and I didn’t even know he was in the movie and I’ve loved him in everything I’ve seen! I think I painfully related to some of his character’s issues with a certain family member, though of course it’s not exactly the same, but was certainly relevant to something going on emotionally in me at the time of watching and only deepened my feelings for it. Adam Arkin I hadn’t recognized, though he was fine, I thought his new face amongst the presence of Cage and Wolff threw me off a bit. Being in most of the heavy scenes, and the nature of his character’s role in the story, maybe someone of a higher stature than Cage would’ve helped convey that feeling stronger.

More with Cage & Wolff:

Alex Wolff in 'Pig' (2021)

Before I dive into some more praise, this film still falls fault to this year’s films being way too heavily white male led. There’s nothing to argue; I’m sorry, just look at this year’s movie posters. Even though ‘Shang Chi’ was my favorite film of the year, broke records and helped pave so many roads for diversity in storytelling, it was only one in a sea of ‘Don’t Look Up’s, ‘Being the Ricardos’, ‘Dune’s, ‘Tick, tick… BOOM’s, many more, and even ‘Pig’s. All of which I loved so god damn much, but none of them are helping create more opportunities for a diverse range of people, especially of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ communities, which I need to see more of. 2021 we got behind. I will share the Geena Davis Institute statistics found soon, it’s pretty f***ng sad. We need to do better.

One of my earliest passions I ever had, maybe even before film, I loved cooking. I love food. I mean, who doesn’t. It’s what we use to survive and it’s certainly a big part of thriving too. I don’t do it as much anymore sadly due to my living situation and haven’t felt like I’ve been able to use a kitchen to myself in 10 years, or really all my life, so it’s something I look forward to getting to nourish more when I have my own home and get to cook for my own family one day. ‘Chef’ is another film that touched by heart and was also in the ‘Food Film’ genre and wonderfully acted and directed by Jon Favreau (Marissa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. are in it), so if you liked ‘Pig’ I’d definitely check out ‘Chef’ (2014).

So as soon as I realized how much this movie was about food I was sucked in. I thought it was going to be this violent, revenge movie and it just so the opposite. ‘Okja’ by recent Academy Award winning director for ‘Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho, is another film that came to mind when watching ‘Pig’, both of which are similar to ‘John Wick’s concept, but much more on the drama and touching side, which I really appreciate. I can appreciate the action of ‘John Wick’, but mostly because it does have that heart to it, especially the first one with the dog. But it’s like ‘Okja’ and ‘Pig’ took the dog aspect of ‘John Wick 1’ and just permeated us in those feelings without all the blood. To be fair, ‘Okja’ is actually way more action packed than ‘Pig’, but pails in comparison to ‘John Wick’, and is truly just a different film. In summary, they all could’ve been just violent, revenge movies, but they weren’t. Sorry ’Nobody’.

Watch 'Okja' on Netflix:

The cinematography, music, the landscapes and sets of Oregon where they filmed, were all magnificent! I just loved the look and feel of it, almost had it’s own flavor and taste that felt right for the story they were cooking up.

Nicolas Cage in 'Pig' (2021)

This film definitely makes it in my top favorites of the year, it’s so amazing, every written line for Cage is just perfect and hit me so hard. Many thanks and credits to writers Vanessa Block and Michael Sarnoski (director as well). Intrigued to see what Sarnoski is going to do with John Krasinski's 'A Quiet Place' franchise, which he's lined up to direct number three.

Written by Sam Gall on Dec 21, 2021

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"If you have an open mind, you will be rewarded with a melancholic and poignant story, and a superb, triumphant performance from Cage who has no trouble reminding audiences that he is an Oscar winner capable of incredible range and depth." - Wenlei Ma,

"There are few actors who could pull off this tonal balancing act as successfully as Cage... Over the years, some have questioned how far he's in on his own joke -- but at this point, there's no doubting his finely tuned sense of the ridiculous." - Jake Wilson, The Age (Australia)

"A deeply moving film with twists and turns that few could see coming, Pig is - amongst other things - a timely reminder of just how good Nicolas Cage is at his job." - Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, ABC Radio (Australia)

"Boasting one of the most beautiful final shots of the last decade, Pig is for anyone who has ever yearned for the other side of loss. I think about it at least once a day." - Vinnie Mancuso, Collider

Official Trailer:

Behind the Scenes:

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