Pig (2021)
July 21, 2021 7:03 AM - Subscribe

Living alone in the Oregon wilderness, a truffle hunter returns to Portland to find the person who stole his beloved pig and goes on a cat-and-mouse run along the shore.

I was surprised by this one, even knowing that the trailer makes this seem like a bit more of a John Wick/Taken/Oldboy-esque middle-aged man revenge thriller than it turns out to be. I hope that folks who have a purely meme-based understanding of Nic Cage see this and get a deeper appreciation for his range as an actor.
posted by Strange Interlude (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Atlantic: The Highbrow Return of Nicolas Cage
On the basis of its advertising, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the indie film Pig is nothing more than the latest over-the-top entry in Nicolas Cage’s bewildering Hollywood career. He’s developed from promising young talent to Oscar winner to action star to, well, living meme. In this latest work, he’s a shambling, shaggy-haired farmer whose truffle pig is abducted; the trailer makes him out to be some Old MacDonald John Wick, a hirsute avatar of vengeance bursting in on the criminal underworld and grumbling, “Where’s my pig?”

Vox: Pig invites fans of Nic Cage, the meme, to rediscover Nic Cage, the movie star.
Judging from those trailer reactions, Pig is not the movie most people expect. It is pensive and broody, mixing a grizzled and frequently silent Cage with sensuous sequences of high-end food preparation. It is partly a film about the not-quite-seedy underbelly of Portland’s gourmet food scene, but more fundamentally, it’s a poetic and introspective odyssey, probing the way loss, memory, longing, and love are twined together with our senses. (There is also some punching.)
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:10 AM on July 21, 2021 [1 favorite]


If you prefer your truffle stories Cage-free, there was a recent documentary called The Truffle Hunters that was well-received (I couldn't watch it because, while it's treated briefly and respectfully, a dog does die).
posted by praemunire at 12:05 PM on July 21, 2021 [1 favorite]


I hope that folks who have a purely meme-based understanding of Nic Cage see this and get a deeper appreciation for his range as an actor.

Sadly, this may not be the case - the last time I saw a movie they had a trailer for PIG in the previews, and everyone else around me in the audience burst out laughing at the meme-ish moments. I wanted to yell at them because the REST of the preview (which I'd seen online previously) looks lovely.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:31 AM on July 22, 2021


I thought this was astonishingly lovely. It has the best “eating a madeleine” moment I think I’ve ever seen in a film, made even more poignant by the slow telegraphing of what Rob is preparing to do. It’s about grief and ultimately perseverance, and I wasn’t expecting any of this from the trailer.

I think some of the nuances will be read as played for laughs, but this movie couldn’t have been made by someone who doesn’t truly love food, and who sees the professional kitchen as a place not just of conflict, but as a fount of love and spiritual home.

The closing credits soundtracked by forest sounds led the dozen people in the theater with me to start asking after a closing credits scene. Geez people just enjoy a movie sometime, it doesn’t all have to be “content”.
posted by hototogisu at 4:56 PM on July 23, 2021 [5 favorites]


My favorite of the year so far. The scene where he forces his former associate to remember his original dream of opening a pub and come to terms with how artificial his life is was a real stand-out, but I really loved everything about it. I also went into expecting Nic Wick, and I'm so glad that's not at all what this movie is. Just pure and thoughtful and beautiful.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:01 PM on July 24, 2021 [5 favorites]


the last time I saw a movie they had a trailer for PIG in the previews, and everyone else around me in the audience burst out laughing at the meme-ish moments.

I did, too. There are consequences for having a long history of playing characters with misguided intensity in terrible, terrible movies.
posted by praemunire at 9:58 AM on July 25, 2021


Mod note: Couple comments removed. Let's aim to have FanFare be about talking about stuff you've seen and not so much about griping about either things you haven't or one another.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:02 AM on July 31, 2021 [1 favorite]


I was expecting something a little more ridiculous or at least eventful -- but this movie is surprisingly bland and safe, even softer than the average indie movie. It's average. It's okay. It's a little better than mediocre. If it didn't have Cage in it, I think people would be like "so what?". But even still, it's not like Cage actually does anything notable -- if this was Cage's first role, I think people would also be like, "so what?"

My zing is that even in the subcategory of recent indie movies named after livestock that revolve around cooking, it comes in second to First Cow.
posted by fleacircus at 11:34 PM on December 1, 2021


Cage's performance in this film was both excellent and very un-Cage (or at least, not the stereotype we associate with him): low-key, understated, everything held deep inside, but at the same time an unmistakable intensity. The story was not at all what I expected -- the "Fight Club" part in the middle was... bizarre? But it fit, somehow. The scene Pater Aletheias mentions was one of the best in the film.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:35 PM on January 23


Relatedly: the intensely hierarchical, almost fascistic organization of professional kitchens is really, really bizarre to me. I get that there is a lot of shit going on at once and things have to be done right and done quickly, and sure, a head chef has to be able to count on their staff prepare things to their standards, but the whole "Yes Chef, right away Chef," not even looking at your boss in the eye but standing there like a soldier at attention seems like fucking overkill. It's one of the reasons why I don't like watching a lot of cooking shows, because I hate seeing people being humiliated and having to kowtow to fucking Gordon Ramsey's assholish behavior or whatever. Can anyone explain this phenomenon to me? Where does this come from, and why?
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:43 PM on January 23


It's one of the reasons why I don't like watching a lot of cooking shows, because I hate seeing people being humiliated and having to kowtow to fucking Gordon Ramsey's assholish behavior or whatever. Can anyone explain this phenomenon to me? Where does this come from, and why?

Well, a French restaurateur named Georges Escoffier came up with the system of the brigade de cuisine, which sort of explains the whole system of "everyone has a specific task and they report to the head chef and it's kind of run like a military structure" thing. As for some head chefs being dicks...well, Anthony Bourdain did suggest that the restaurant business tends to attract people who are kind of "off" in some way. Some are able to rise through the ranks and take charge without ego getting the best of them....and some aren't.

Also, I think with Gordon Ramsey some of the assholishness is played up for cameras because Reality Show; and believe it or not, people like to see that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:51 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I just recently watched Vampire’s Kiss. If you want to see range, follow up Pig with that one.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:10 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Actually, the other way around makes for a better mystery.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:11 AM on January 24


Thanks for the info on the brigade, intriguing!

And yeah, I've seen Ramsey in some settings where he was downright pleasant.

I have a congenital allergy to authority figures, so whenever I see someone doing the whole "I am CHEF, this is SPARTA!" schtick, I get really irritated.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:12 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


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