Pig – Review

So it looks like the campy, knockoff version of John Wick [2014] that substitutes a pig for a puppy. Michael Sarnoski’s debut film is closer to Brad Bird’s Ratatouille [2007], but with a lot more intensity.

Pig tells the story of Robin (Nicholas Cage), a man living in total isolation in the Pacific Northwest. Living with him is his prized truffle pig, and he sells the high-dollar fungus to local restaurants via Amir (Alex Wolff), an obnoxious trust-fund kid looking to prove his mettle. One night he is attacked and beaten, his beloved porcine partner stolen, and he calls his truffle fence to chauffer him around Portland, Oregon as he hunts for his beloved pet through the city’s seedy culinary underbelly.

This sounds thrilling, but the narrative of Sarnoski’s film is more contemplation than carnage; a cinematic tribute to the relationships that bind us and our food together, the memories we make together, and the shockwave that can result when this ecosystem is disturbed. This sounds like food hipster snobbery, but the results are more loving and cathartic towards the food sources and industry than expected. All of this stands second, of course, to the emotional cores of the film.

Pig isn’t just about a man hunting for a beloved pet, about the culture of the food industry that people don’t want to acknowledge, or even about father figures. It is, instead, all of these things layered together in a decadent cake. It’s fitting that the film is divided up like a three-course-meal, given that it’s three main themes are different levels of satisfaction on their own. There are no easy answers to the questions posed by each course, but they all whet your appetite to set up for a grand final dish and it really does pay off in an unexpected way.

Alongside newcomer Sarnoski are composers Alex Grapsas and Philip Klein, new-to-me talent on the scene. It’s very frustrating to see that musicians such as these haven’t yet had their time in the spotlight. Each pieces feels unique, but contains flavors of the familiar. Gamers will recognize shades of The Last of Us and film fans will find the likes of Beltrami, each unique in their own way and blended together to make an intense and gut-wrenching listening experience. It’s not quite on the same level as Clint Mansell’s In the Earth [2021], but it’s one of the best scores the year has had to offer thus far.

What you get out of Pig is what you choose to take with you, but I think most carry the correct type of baggage for this to be an emotional gut-punch. It’s sweet, angry, quiet, shrieking storytelling and I dug every moment of it. I’m particularly moved by this one, in ways that are totally surprising, and I urge you all to give it the time.

Pig is currently streaming in theatres.

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