Director: Michael Sarnoski
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin
Run Time: 92 mins
Nicolas Cage has had a fascinating career to date and he is most famous for his unhinged performances in quite often negatively received films. Cage has had a late career resurgence recently with both Mandy and Color Out Of Space being powerful, psychedelic vehicles for the actor, whose overacting has been in keeping with the subject material. Pig looks to be the next step in his resurgence, with Cage playing a reclusive truffle hunter called Rob who owns a prize foraging pig, having formerly been an esteemed Portland chef. When Rob’s pig is stolen, he teams with his young and unexperienced supplier, Amir (Alex Wolff) to track it down and he comes into contact with his past as his journey takes him back to Portland.
As with Cage’s other works, this is a ludicrous concept and he really has the potential to pull it off. Unlike his other works, Pig is not an action thriller and is instead a drama. It is directed by Michael Sarnoski, in what his directorial debut and the film has received near unanimous praise from critics and audiences, many lauding this as one of Cage’s best performances.
Unfortunately, I found Pig to be a thunderously boring experience that is blandly directed and I couldn’t connect with the characters whatsoever. The only engaging sequence of the film was the first ten minutes which consists of Cage and his pig truffle foraging and the kidnapping. Although Cage’s performance is sincere, it is also one-note and baffling. Rob spends the entirety of the film with blood on his face that he doesn’t bother to simply wipe off. Whilst it may have been an interesting creative choice on the page, it doesn’t work on the screen when he is trying to get similarly boring characters to take him seriously. The film is just boring conversation after boring conversation in perplexing locations and the juxtaposition of what is supposed to be a gritty backstory aggressively clashes with the neat sheen of the high-end restaurant trade. This is further heightened by the actors all mumbling their lines with no conviction in their character arc.
Alex Wolff has had a very promising start to his young career with excellent performances in films such as Patriots Day, Hereditary and Old. Unfortunately, his performance as Amir is similarly one-note and he has made the first mis-step of his career. Cage and Wolff completely lack chemistry and a late third act scene with Amir’s wealthy father, Darius (Adam Arkin) that is meant to be a revelatory moment for the duo is just so plodding and uninvolving.
Sarnoski’s direction is uninspiring and he fails to conjure any energy in the material or the performances. I can only imagine he was equally bored during production. Visually, the film has a boring colour palette that is inconsistent and it has a manipulative, vanilla score.
I’m all for Nicolas Cage taking a risk in his career with a complete tonal gear shift in the projects he picks but this was a mind-numbingly monotonous experience with no redeeming qualities other than the first ten minutes. Clearly I am in the minority as Pig has received near unanimous praise but I cannot comprehend what the praise is for. Pig was the most arduous 92 minutes I have had to experience in quite some time and is a complete misfire.