By: Amanda Guarragi
We have gotten films that have explored people living out in the wilderness, far away from society and the bounds that it comes with. The more you become detached with the social conditioning that capitalism is the only way to survive, the more you become one with yourself and with nature. In Michael Sarnoski’s Pig we see Robin Feld (Nicolas Cage) living alone in the Oregon wilderness, after choosing to step away from his life back home. He is a truffle hunter who returns to Portland to find the person who stole his beloved pig.
This was such an ambitious film for Sarnoski’s debut feature film. The story, written by Sarnoski and Vanessa Block, is the most unique piece this year. It is intriguing because we have never explored the black market of truffle hunters on screen before. The journey that we go on with Robin Feld is straightforward on the surface; he wants to find his pig, but then his past life haunts him as he returns to the city. Sarnoski peels back these layers with each chapter heading, and in those headings, we slowly discover how he entered the truffle hunting business.
The film does suffer from pacing issues because the story can only be stretched out for so long. How long can he search for his lost pig? The more Robin dives into his past and takes this trip down memory lane, the more he loses the exterior he built out in the wilderness. There are moments where we see the internalized hatred for the industry he’s in and what lead him to throw it away. This is also one of Cage’s best performances to date. It is such a reserved role for Cage, but he manages to strike and be assertive when necessary.
Pig is one of the most interesting movies of the year. It explores capitalism, social conditioning and how they are factors in the destruction of human connection. We see the greed and arrogance through Amir (Alex Wolff), who is the black market businessman Robin works with, which all ties into the hierarchy of power in the corporate food chain. Who ends up suffering in the end? Who loses everything they have, while others grow richer? It’s such an impressive directorial debut and it really can’t even be categorized in one particular genre. Even if you’re not completely in love with the film, you can appreciate the originality that Sarnoski presented.