Trailers for “Pig,” the new Nicolas Cage movie now playing in theatres, suggests a bacon flavored version of “Taken,” but that’s not what the movie is about. There is a kidnapping, a chase and even a catchphrase—“I need my pig.”—but this is an dissertation on bereavement, so don’t expect a hog-wild action movie.
Cage plays Robin Feld, a once revered chef in the Portland, Oregon area, who gave it all up to live in the middle of nowhere with his truffle hunting pig. His only contact with the outside world is Amir (Alex Wolff), the young man who supplies restaurants with the truffles Robin and his beloved pig find in the woods.
After a day of foraging, Robin and the pig settle in for the night, when suddenly the door is kicked in. Robin is knocked unconscious and the pig is abducted. The next day, with dried blood still caked on his face, Robin recruits Amir to chauffeur him around Portland in search of the people responsible for the pignapping.
“Pig” is advertised as a thriller, but it’s not. It’s more a story loss and what happens to people when the thing they care about is taken away. A key phrase comes in a long scene between Feld and a local chef as they discuss passion as it relates to food, life and relationships.
“We don’t get a lot of things to really care about,” Feld says. It’s a speech about the deep connection we make to the people and things we feel passionate about, and how important it is to heed those passions.
It’s also a testament to the void those passions leave when bad things happen. No spoilers here, but “Pig” isn’t about the kidnapping or the chase, it’s about passion, and the deep well of emotion that accompanies it.
Once again Cage takes on a taciturn character with a past. For the first half of the movie the pig has more lines than Cage. As such, the gonzo actor keeps the yelling and the histrionics to a minimum. For much of the movie, despite his ragged appearance, he is restrained almost to the point of sleepwalking. It doesn’t make for compelling viewing, but as the character opens up verbally, we begin to understand his motives for past and present behavior and the character comes into focus.
“Pig” is a nicely performed movie that delivers beyond its absurd sounding premise—man searches for his kidnapped pig—but may play too minor a chord to really strike home emotionally.