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A Welcome New Take on the Revenge Film, Courtesy of Nicolas Cage and …. a Pig

by Sarah Soliman

Pig is probably not the movie you’re expecting it to be. A Nicolas Cage vehicle in which he plays a man out for revenge after his beloved pig is kidnapped seems like it’s going to be something we’ve seen before — a Taken (in which Liam Neeson’s daughter is abducted) or a John Wick (in which Keanu Reeves’ dog is killed) or even a Mandy (Cage, in one of his best recent roles, facing down the cult that kidnaps his wife.) To varying degrees these films all satisfy expectations of what an action-revenge film is. Pair that with Cage’s reputation for over-the-top on-screen antics, and one might assume that Pig will be an extravagant, frenzied, and violent cinematic experience. 

But Pig understands the tropes it’s playing with and the persona of its lead, and it upends them entirely. 

Cage is Robin Feld, a man choosing an isolated existence in the forests of Oregon. He lives alone, his truffle pig as his sole companion and the only true connection he seems to have with another living being. Once a week he is visited by Amir (Alex Wolff, Hereditary), a luxury food salesman, who serves as the middleman between Robin and Portland’s high-end restaurants. One night, Robin is violently attacked and his porcine roommate stolen. He is forced to rely on Amir for help, and the two of them begin an odyssey into Portland’s food scene and its intersection with Robin’s past. 

As Robin, Cage is understated and contemplative, and Wolff reveals a vulnerability we don’t expect upon first meeting Amir. Through hints and snippets of information, director Michael Sarnoski paints a deep, vivid portrait of the pain and trauma these two men have endured in their respective pasts. Rather than using those experiences as an excuse for causing more harm, Pig becomes an anti-revenge film, asking how we can bear witness to each other’s suffering and meet it with compassion.

Pig might not be the movie we expect, but it feels like the movie we need. 

Pig opens at The Picture House on Friday, September 3rd. 

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