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Pig – 2021 Sarnoski
- Nic Cage looking like bloody Santa (a Zen bloody Santa) and the simple premise of a stolen, beloved pet (the titular pig) may make you think this is a low budget revenge tale version of John Wick. However, Michael Sarnoski’s Pig (writer/director- his debut) has as much in common with the bizarro world gangster films Brick (2005) and Blow the Man Down (2019). This world here is the cutthroat world of fine foods and eateries in Portland. Cage is a former chef, his pig is a prized truffle hunter. They are shown to be in some sort of idyllic paradise together in the beautiful opening—including the doorway creating a frame within the frame of the two together.
- Cage’s character has been in hiding (and mourning) and in an escape from the world for fifteen years so Sarnoski’s use of both soft and shallow focus makes sense as he adjusts- he has also been beaten nearly to death so some of the fogginess could be that too.
- A patient 92 minutes with long pauses. It should be sort of funny on the surface in some spots- but Cage never blinks.
- Sarnoski uses a three-part structure with titles and names of different dishes (this is a great film for foodies).
- The film is a sly meditation on dealing with loss—there is a symbolic cleansing scene late in the film as well.
- A nice composition of Cage and Alex Wolff at a diner together framed by the window.
- Wolff deserves credit for taking on this project. It would be easy to be scared off starring with Cage in 2021 in a film with this premise on paper—but he had to have seen some of the spirit in the screenplay including a great monologue he gets about his character’s parents talking about one special meal. It is enough to make you want to become a chef.
- Ends with a pivotal song choice and Sarnoski nails it going with one of Bruce Springsteen’s finest- “I’m On Fire”
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 2021