4 Min Read

Grief UnCaged: Pig

Pig is a beautiful meditation on loss and how different people react to it. While some people surround themselves with luxury and pretentious, prestigious jobs and possessions, Nicolas Cage’s character Robin is simply a man who hunts truffles with his pig. 

After his pig is kidnapped by those who want to utilise its truffle-hunting talents for themselves, Robin and Amir, played by Alex Wolff, set out on a journey to regain what they have lost. For a movie with a similar premise to John Wick, (that being, a man searches for the people responsible for taking his beloved pet, which represents his late wife, away from him), it couldn’t be further from it. Replacing the high-energy fight scenes of John Wick is a deep exploration of how various people cope with loss, and how they struggle to let go.

Pig, 2021. Directed by Michael Sarnoski. 

Amir is the son of a prominent businessman in the culinary world, and he is trying to follow in his father’s footsteps as he buys truffles from Robin and various others to gain a reputation in the industry. Amir is, in many ways, the opposite of Robin. He surrounds himself with fast sports cars, lavish suits and classical music. Robin abandoned this exact life of prestige and valour after his wife passed, instead just living in a shack with his tools and his pig.
The film further explores the life Robin used to have, and the one Amir is still trying to find himself in, through a chef at a prestigious restaurant that cooks ridiculous, complex meals that are only on the menu to appease his critics and bosses. When Robin reminds him of his old dream of opening an authentic English pub he finds himself short of breath, shocked at being confronted after years of stellar reviews that he has used to justify his empty venture.
The theme of repressed desire is introduced in an earlier scene when Robin and Amir enter an underground fight club run by the chefs and restaurant staff in Portland. It’s a place where these people come to bet money on how long others can take a beating, which is exactly what Robin endures so he can get an address for the person that took his pig.

Pig, 2021. Directed by Michael Sarnoski. 

The film uses toned-down colours and soft lighting to match the sombre tone, and many shots look beautiful. Seeing the light filter through the trees as Robin hunts truffles or watching Robin teach Amir to cook just looks beautiful and adds so much to the viewing experience.
Nick Cage always manages to match the energy of the films he’s in, and there is no better example than Pig. Robin is a quiet man, not silent but often only speaking when necessary. Robin’s stoic demeanour is completely shattered in a scene late in the film, and it solidifies Pig as Cage’s best performance of his immense career.
The power that this film holds was most apparent to me when I nearly burst into tears after hearing Nicolas Cage say “I’ll see you Thursday?”. I’m sure that sounds ridiculous without context, but within the film it represents the horrific reality of moving on after losing a loved one. Cage’s casual delivery of the line after all he’d gone through makes me stop and reflect every time I think about it, and that’s exactly what makes a movie like this legendary.
Despite being named after an animal, Pig is an intrinsically human story, portraying things that everyone goes through at some point in their lives and the crippling sadness that comes with it.
Pig is available for streaming on Stan.