PIG – Review by Susan Granger
Nicolas Cage delivers a heartfelt, realistic performance as shaggy, grizzled Robin ‘Rob’ Feld, a mysterious truffle-hunter who lives alone in a cabin deep in the Oregon wilderness with his beloved pig.
His only social interaction occurs when Amir (Alex Wolff) arrives each Thursday in a canary-yellow Camaro to bring supplies and buy Rob’s valuable mushrooms.
One night, when his rustic hut is invaded, Rob is badly beaten and his prized pig is stolen. Determined to find and rescue his treasured friend, anguished Rob teams up with reluctant Amir to take a road trip into Portland, where he’s forced to confront his culinary past.
Apparently, Amir’s parents shared the most memorable meal of their marriage at the trendy, upscale restaurant where Rob once reigned as supreme chef.
One tip leads to another, including a stop for a prized salted baguette and an interlude at an underground Fight Club for restaurant workers – until stoic Rob learns that the thieving culprit was probably Amir’s ruthless father, Darius (Adam Arkin).
Realizing that food might soften Darius’ heart, Rob tantalizes his taste buds, preparing him the most delectable dinner, a ‘repeat’ of that memorable haute-cuisine meal, hoping that, perhaps, he can eventually retrieve his fungi-foraging friend.
“We don’t get a lot of things to really care about,” Rob reveals, although he’s still secretive about his receipt for Rustic Mushroom Tart.
Working with cinematographer Patrick Scola, co-writer/first-time director Michael Sarnoski explores melancholy themes of loyalty, love, loss and loneliness, since the pig also turns out to be a metaphor for Rob’s late partner/wife Lori, who died years earlier, and his need for emotional connection.
FYI: According to the press notes, the film’s budget was so small that Sarnoski couldn’t afford to hire a trained pig, nor was there time in the 20-day shooting schedule to accommodate delays or re-shoots.
On the Granger Gauge, Pig is a subtle, sorrowful, savory 7 – streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play and Vudu.