Pig ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

This movie is such a wonderful surprise. I’m so happy I went in knowing absolutely nothing about it.

For one, it genuinely is the lowest key version of John Wick. For two, Nic Cage’s performance is completely masterful? He’s entered this really fascinating stage in his career where he’s merging the gonzo charisma with the natural gravitas an actor with his age and stature carries. Nothing he does feels belabored; it feels profoundly intentional and direct. It helps that the writing is excellent and affords him the space with which to apply these things. He brings a weathered empathy to Rob that I’m not sure many other actors could pull off. He also gives two incredible monologues that I cannot picture any other actor possibly doing.

The underground odyssey of it all caught me off guard but I really appreciated that it didn’t stray too far off course. The writing never loses sight of why Rob is doing what he does. It always takes great care to provide clear reasoning and emotional stakes for every action, especially the most absurd ones. And there’s plenty of those. Michael Sarnoski’s writing and direction is nearly unassailable for many reasons here, but most of all because it gives you the chance to have your cake and eat it too. There’s an inherent absurdity to seeing Nic Cage pouring 50 year old wine while unshowered, unshaven, and having clearly recently received a beating. But the fact that it’s equal parts emotionally resonant and absurd is the reason it works at all. 

It’s all grounded in a strong thematic idea too. Being honest with yourself can be difficult to do for many reasons, yet it’s what makes anything worth doing. It’s certainly what animates the best moments in this film. And sometimes the hardest thing to do isn’t just to be honest. It’s to let go when the time comes. Sometimes we need a little push.

Pig is a lot of things. A take off on revenge movies, a take off on cooking shows, a movie about withholding emotions. It’s about finding happiness in what you have, just as much as it is about accepting what you’ve lost. It does a great deal with only two lead performances and a ton of atmosphere. But above all, it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. 

And yes, even as someone who currently lives in Seattle… fuck Seattle.

Stray Notes:
-The earthquake monologue is an all timer. Up there with Nic’s monologue from Moonstruck about losing his hand (which can never be topped.)

-Alex Wolff is perfectly cast as an insecure douchebag. He should play more of them, mostly because he’s always read to me as kind of a douchebag.

-I make it sound quite dour, but this movie genuinely is very funny. Love grumpy Nic Cage!

-God I love the pig. It has so much character too! The fact that it’s always walking around grunting and making noise is adorable. I’m sure it would get on my nerves in real life but in the movie? Love that pig!

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