Nicolas Cage, an actor many had written off following his disappointing output from the mid-2000s to the mid-2010s, is experiencing an impressive career resurgence that is extending into the early 2020s.
Movies such as “Willy’s Wonderland” and “Color Out of Space” are fueling his strong comeback. His new movie, “Pig” (Neon), the first porcine-centric movie since “Babe,” puts Cage high on the hog.
Rob (Cage) is an eccentric loner living in isolation for 15 years in a cabin in the Oregon woods with his cherished truffle pig. She is his closest companion. The only contact he has with the outside world is with Amir (Alex Wolff), a truffle buyer from Portland who arrives in his shiny new yellow Camaro to drop off supplies for Rob and returns to the city with a cooler full of truffles.
One night, while Rob and the sow are asleep, they are awoken by noises outside. Rob’s cabin is broken into, he is assaulted, and the pig is abducted. The next morning Rob sets out on a quest to find his precious buddy. He is able to contact Amir who agrees to help him after Rob tells him, “You want your supply? I need my pig.”
The first stop on their quest leads them to the local tweakers who stole the pig and admit to selling her to “some city guy.” Rob then asks Amir to take him to Portland where he meets with nasty Edgar (Darius Pierce), someone he knew when he lived there. Edgar insults Rob verbally and is later involved in hurting him physically in a hard-to-watch “Fight Club” kind of scene. It is in this sequence that Rob’s identity, former renowned Portland restaurateur Robin Feld, is revealed.
Revelation is a recurring theme of Rob’s crusade in “Pig.” In addition to discovering that Amir is the son of ruthless “rare food king” Darius (Adam Arkin), Rob makes a pilgrimage to places from his long-abandoned past, including his old house and his former restaurant.
Furthermore, because of the guilt Amir feels about Rob’s situation (an emotion he has every right to experience), he has an attitude change toward Rob and assists him on his mission. Along the way, of course, Amir confronts some of his own life traumas.
Amidst all of the weightiness, there are small moments of delight. A scene in a pretentious restaurant in which Rob reconnects with a former employee, Finway (David Knell), is a source of subtle humor.
Cage is at his peak here and it’s hard to imagine another actor who could have done what he did with the part of Rob. Wolff’s performance is also worth mentioning, especially because he is so good at bringing his character’s evolution to the surface. Even vegans will find something to like about “Pig.”
Screen Savor is a weekly column from SFGN’s film critic Gregg Shapiro. Shapiro is an entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in regional LGBT and mainstream media outlets. Shapiro is the author of seven books including the 2019 chapbooks, Sunshine State and More Poems About Buildings and Food. Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.