The absolute versatility of Nic Cage, cannot be understated and this is evident in his latest film ‘PIG’ directed by Michael Sarnoski. The brooding atmosphere comes courtesy of Cage’s protagonist, an unkept and dishevelled pig farmer who wrecks havoc on members of the underworld who had abducted his prized truffle pig – uncreatively named Pig. In what initially seems like a backwater John Wick, using any and all means to exact revenge and reclaim what is rightfully his. The muted tone of the film seems to add to the very dour and depressing atmosphere, perhaps laced with some cynical comedy as Cage’s protagonist is a fish-out-of-water in a modern city, seemingly as out of place as the premise of this dark film. Cage plays Robin ‘Rob’ Feld, a once renowned chef turned truffle forager who now appreciates the solitude more than days of fame. Since the passing of his wife, Rob now lives a quiet and reclusive existence with his prized truffle seeking pig, but the serenity of his world is shattered when he is assaulted and Pig is abducted. What transpires is a somewhat bizarre path of destruction, where the act of vengeance is conveys that palpable feeling of loss when violence is as unrestrained as the emotions. Though prima facie, the movie is a simple by the numbers revenge film; it is nuanced enough to slowly reveal the subtleties of the narrative, perhaps in the same way Cage’s character unravels in LEAVING LAS VEGAS (1995). With this being the directorial debut of Sarnorski, it may be easy to opine that Cage allowed himself to be a blank slate and enable Sanorski to capitalise on the very essence of who Cage was – at that very moment. He allows Cage to deconstruct Robin’s persona, going from calm and contemplative to inhumanly berserk. It’s as much an existential drama as it is a pure revenge film, and it is stylish enough to be beautiful to watch without being overly pretentious. From the melancholy score to the relaxed camera, the clear focus is on the path of the protagonist and how he impacts on others and not the other way round.The primary supporting cast of Alex Wolff and Adam Arkin are serviceable, but yet somehow forgettable when so much mystery and intrigue surrounds Robin and his somewhat tainted past. Part of the film’s brilliance, is that it does make itself impossible to review without revealing too much of the plot, with the very fragility of human emotions explored in every scene that Cage is in. This is yet another valid endorsement of Cage’s skill, he is by no means over-the-hill, especially when he (like Robin) is not one to shy away from risks and challenge himself in new and diverse roles. Here he is jaded and cynical, and hence grips onto the one remaining piece of family that he has left; more valuable than the foodie scene that he once dominated. He seems to even perplex each and every opponent he encounters, by a simple glare or a quiet comment that more often than not is darkly humorous.
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