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Pig review: Chicken soup for the John Wick soul

Nicolas Cage in the movie Pig.
Nicolas Cage in the movie Pig. Pic credit: Neon

Nicolas Cage is not what many might consider a “great actor.” He is usually a performer that fits inside a certain style best. Typically this involves film concepts that match his over-the-top energy. The movie Pig is surprisingly not one of those movies. And his role in Pig is surprisingly unconventional even by Nicolas Cage standards.

On the surface, this seems like it will turn into a John Wick fest as Cage goes wildly mad after someone threatens his pet. Yet, this is unlike anything we have seen before from any film.

But is Pig worth a trip to see in theaters? Here is our full Pig review starring Nicolas Cage.

Pig movie review

As the trailer indicates, Pig centers on a mysterious, reclusive man who lives in the woods. He and his pig hunt truffles daily and live a mostly quiet and peaceful life. This reclusive man also plays tapes of some woman speaking to him, but we as the viewer are not given the knowledge of who this person is most of the runtime.

One thing is clear though, this truffle hunter loves and adores his pig. And keeps its bed next to him as they sleep nightly.

But similar to John Wick, one day, as they both fall asleep, someone storms into his cabin, beats him up, and steals the pig away as it screams for him.

The film also stars Alex Wolff (Hereditary, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) as Amir, a friend who brings him supplies weekly. And the truffle hunter implores him to help him find the pig.

Because it is Nicolas Cage, we expect this film to go dark and violent. Perhaps taking a turn similar to Mandy and somehow going completely bonkers in the brutality.

Surprisingly, Pig has a giant heart and plans to kill its viewers with compassion. In fact, the only person to take any punches in this movie is Cage himself.

Nicolas Cage as the truffle hunter in the movie Pig.
Nicolas Cage as the truffle hunter in the movie Pig. Pic credit: Neon

As the truffle hunter--whose identity and secrets are being held purposely – makes his way through a series of encounters, we find out he is not a nobody. And his character does something that most of us could learn a great lesson from. He fights with love in his heart. He tries desperately to appeal to their soul and bring what they want to ignore to the surface.

Cage himself demonstrates he still has the capacity to give a calm understated performance while doing so. At least two scenes in this film that are dialogue-driven are some of his best work and might be the best-directed sequences of the year. It’s weird to say that a movie about a Pig might possess the most moving and heartfelt scenes of the year, but here we are.

Pig also stars Adam Arkin – which is a name that this writer has not seen onscreen in quite a while. But Arkin gives an outstanding, ruthlessly devastating performance in this movie as well and honestly needs to have a bigger presence in cinema.

Nicolas Cage and Alex Wolff in the movie Pig.
Nicolas Cage and Alex Wolff in the movie Pig. Pic credit: Neon

Mostly Pig is about the line between bitterness and empathy that endangers us all. If the Pig represents confrontation--whether it’s a political argument or a personal fight or grief – the lesson here is to try and fight with love, no matter how hard that might be.

Every person the truffle hunter encounters has their own level of moral, ethical, or emotional decay that has made them empty and resentful of life. The writers here understand that bitterness is like cancer and destroys anyone from the inside out.

Again, for a concept such as this, the level of emotional depth this film offered was as surprising as the main character himself.

There are probably flaws to find with Pig, but given everything this film accomplishes, it’s unnecessary. Director Michael Sarnoski has made an unexpectedly beautiful masterwork here.

Pig will remind the world that Cage--love him or hate him--is the most interesting actor working today. This is the most emotionally raw and subtle we have seen him since Lord of War. And he brings a ton of heart to this role.

Should you watch Pig movie in theaters?

Pig is a surprisingly beautiful film that confronts the nature of bitterness vs. love. This is basically John Wick for the empath and it contains some of the most moving scenes of the entire year.

It also contains a performance from Nicolas Cage that will remind audiences once again he can deliver an affecting performance with his eyes closed.

It might just be July, but at this moment, Pig is one of the biggest surprises of 2021 and might also end up being one of the best offerings of the entire year.

Readers who are looking for more theatrical reviews should check out our coverage of F9 and Black Widow.

Pig is now playing in select theaters.

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