Michael Sarnoski’s feature-length directorial debut Pig is about a recluse truffle hunter (Rob played by Nicolas Cage) who is need of answers after his truffle-finding pig is stolen – the John Wick comparisons are unavoidable. Both movies feature an actor-turn-cult icon playing an enigmatic strong-but-silent type who has the main motivation of reuniting with their animal companion. It’s already been clarified by audiences who have embraced Pig that Sarnoski’s movie couldn’t be more different, with Pig being a much more sombre drama. However, I’m here to counter that counterpoint with my take on Pig because Sarnoski’s film, I feel, is still eligible to compare.
Just like John Wick, Pig explores the secluded industry, as well as the general society, that Rob has distanced himself from. The audience is given hints and reflective monologues about who Rob once was, which offers a compelling albeit spotty perspective of the character’s transition into obscurity. As he weaves himself back into the cutthroat underbelly of his former city, he discovers how his status isn’t as strong as before, only to remind those who have forgotten about him of his importance.
When his pig is stolen, Rob wastes no time tracing the crime. He brings along a close contact he supplies truffles to, Amir (Hereditary’s Alex Wolff), in hopes that the buyer can provide more access to exclusive environments. The dynamic is interesting for Amir as well, a materialistic showoff who knows he can’t lose Rob as a business colleague.
Pig effectively takes place over the course of a short timeframe as the days blend together. The viewer starts to take notice how nobody on-screen actually rests; balancing the plot’s sense of urgency with a persistent element of exhaustion. Cage and Wolff give terrific performances as they explore every angle of the relationship between their characters. I particularly loved how they were able to find fleeting moments of power through their frustration with each other.
The antithesis between John Wick and Pig is how it rewards its audience. The former did so with immaculate fight choreography and a gripping revenge story. Pig channels its quest into more of a sombre story about compassion, forgiveness, and closure. Two very different interpretations of a similar story, both memorable in their own way.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie