A sullen, taciturn, completely antisocial man named Rob (Nicolas Cage) lives in a small cabin in the Oregon wilderness. Rob’s company is Brandy the pig, trained to look for very valuable mushrooms in the forest – black truffles. Rob and Brandi go truffle hunting every day, and spend the rest of the time as they like: Brandi minds her own business, and Rob cooks and listens to his wife’s voice on an antediluvian cassette recorder – apparently long gone.
Every Thursday, a foppish Chevrolet Camaro pulls up to Rob’s hut, from which a young guy Amir (Alex Wolf) gets out, pretending to be a tough businessman: Amir takes a weekly collection of truffles, which he resells very profitably to restaurants in the city of Portland, and in return the guy brings Rob a simple set of products that he ordered. The deal does not seem very profitable for Rob – the cost of a black truffle, even in purchase, can reach $ 50-100 per kilogram, but it seems that this suits Rob.
At some point, the measured existence of Rob and Brandi comes to an end: at night, two masked men come to their hut, who hit Rob on the head, but, worst of all, they also take Brandi’s pig with them.
When Rob comes to his senses, he starts an ancient jeep, breathing its last, and goes to the nearest town: he must return his Brandi, who for him is not only a pig looking for truffles, she is actually a member of his family.
But in the city he does not know anyone, and then Rob calls the same Amir. After all, Amir is interested in getting the piggy back or he won’t have any more supplies from Rob.
Theoretically, there should first be a long text about Nikki Coppola, the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola, who took the pseudonym Nicolas Cage and under this pseudonym made an impressive career, which, however, eventually slid into approximately the same hole as the career of Bruce Willis: and Cage and Willis are doing incredibly lame action films with a 4-star rating on IMDB, which, of course, brings them some money, but obviously spoils the karma a lot. At the same time, Willis, interestingly, has a fortune of under two hundred million dollars, and although Cage earned about $150 million for his film career, he spent almost all the money on completely idiotic purchases and is now practically ruined.
There will be no long text, since everything is quite well known about Cage: there is such an extraordinary actor who did not use his belonging to the most famous cinematic family, took a pseudonym, achieved impressive success under it (he even has one Oscar), and then slipped into third-rate roles in famous films and the main roles in a specific action sludge like “The Master”, “Between the Worlds” and other cinematic slag with Cage on the cover.
However, even in the guise of “just like Bruce Willis” Cage, among other things, began to appear in interesting (albeit often very controversial) purely author’s cinematic projects like psychedelic fiction based on Lovecraft’s story about the purple alien horror “Color from Other Worlds” or an even more sensational film “Mandy”, where a lumberjack’s hellish biker religious gang kidnaps and kills a girlfriend, and a lumberjack goes to take revenge. (The plot “Pig” does not remind you in any way?)
“Pig” is also an author’s movie, which has nothing to do with those sloppy action movies in which Cage is filmed for some reason: the plot of the film resembles both Mandy and, of course, John Wick. John Wick, who lives alone after the death of his wife, has a dog killed – Rob, who lives as a hermit after the death of his wife, has a pig kidnapped. John Wick went to take revenge, and there it turns out that he is a tough killer, a Belarusian partisan (about the Belarusian origin of Wick is revealed in the third film), after which John Wick puts down virtually the entire United Statesn mafia of New York.
When you read the announcement of “Pig”, you also think that it will be such a “John Wick” at the minimum. Well, yes, a pig will be taken away from the character of Nicolas Cage, he will go to rescue it and wet half of Portland, perhaps with the help of an improvised screwdriver, as in some kind of “Great Equalizer”.
But here, which is interesting and very pleasing, Rob turned out to be neither John Wick nor the Great Equalizer. Moreover, he went through the whole film in this particular vagabond form, having washed himself only at the very end.
Because it’s not a fighter. It’s this kind of slightly meditative indie drama that doesn’t always turn out to be what it seems, which is, as Bublik the cat said, downright good. Even the underground fight scene (it’s not explained very well in the film, but I understand that Rob went to this test just to get data from Andy) does not live up to bad expectations, because in this scene everything will still not so.
Everything will be different there and then: in search of his beloved pig, Rob gradually descends into the depths of Portland and we have to find out who he is and who he was in this city. And I assure you that he was not at all an idiotic “Baba Yaga”, as in “John Wick”. But of course I won’t spoil it.
This is a good movie. It is very authorial, and, apparently, it is authorial specifically for Nicolas Cage: he is a producer here, he plays the main role here, the film was directed by debutant director Michael Sarnoski – apparently, this is a purely cage project. And it’s really good: behind a deceptive synopsis in the spirit of “John Wick” (it was really pedaled in the announcements) – a pure indie drama that has serious literary allusions (a separate pleasure to identify and notice them), which does not chew everything that is possible for the mass viewer, but gives certain hints about what happened earlier in Rob’s life in this city, where he was a very noticeable figure, and why he became a hermit – but these are just hints, because the audience will have to deal with the real picture of what happened, because will not be fully explained here.
Nicolas Cage is very good here. This is his film (without a doubt), he portrayed his character exactly the way he wanted to portray him. Therefore, Rob emerges from the forest as a kind of unwashed overgrown hermit, which he has been for the last fifteen years, so, in fact, he goes through the whole film like that: Cage does not need to wash his character and he will not show the wonders of karate, jiu-jitsu and kickboxing – on the contrary , he will often get seriously in the face. And what can this forest eccentric do to someone who came to the city only to return his beloved pig (imagine that your beloved dog or beloved cat was taken away from you), and everything that he can oppose to the powerful of this world, – this is a complete non-resistance.
But Rob has his own ways of influencing certain people: and we will gradually find out who he was then and in what areas he is still good. Well, I note that here in the monologues of his character, Cage clearly included some things that he wanted to say himself: on the one hand, these monologues seem to fall out of the plot, however, on the other hand, they are interesting and unexpected, and here you can imagine that these are things that disturb Rob (and Nicolas Cage himself).
In addition to Cage, I really liked Alex Wolfe, who played the major Amir. Amir always pretends to be cool, but it is clear that Amir is always in the shadow of his famous and very tough businessman-father, that he has a serious childhood injury there, and Rob finds out about this injury one way or another, although he does not seeks to learn something about other people’s injuries, he lacks his own. And Amir, with all his business, is simply trying to reach out to his father, who does not take him seriously in any way.
That same father was played by good character actor Adam Arkin, the son of the absolutely wonderful actor Alan Arkin (how wonderful he is in The Kominsky Method). Adam has an interesting role here: on the one hand, he had to portray such a real coolness and he portrayed it, on the other hand, this whole situation affected some purely personal experiences in him, and this was also shown very well.
Well, a really good movie: Nicolas Cage in the title role, a pig was taken away from a forest recluse and he went to get it back – you could only expect a muddy action movie, but we got a very good indie drama. Which looks good, and makes you think, and leaves a good aftertaste not from the series “What the hell did I just watch?”, but from the series “I think this is a little more than what I just saw.”
In any case, I did not regret at all that I watched this film, although, as they say, nothing foreshadowed. Well, and all sorts of compliments to Nicolas Cage, who, as it turned out, is still capable of not only bruising in the dumbest action movies that almost no one watches. For which he is honored and praised.
Director: Michael Sarnosky Cast: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Cassandra Violet, Julia Bray, Adam Arkin, Beth Harper, Brian Sutherland, David Shaughnessy, Gretchen Corbett, Sean Targioto
Indie drama, UK, 2021, 92 min.