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  Pig Will The Swine Be Fine?
Year: 2021
Director: Michael Sarnoski
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin, Gretchen Corbett, Darius Pierce, David Knell, Cassandra Violet, Julia Bray, Elijah Ungvary, Beth Harper, Sean Tarjyoto, Tom Walton, Davis King, Nina Belforte, Dana Millican, Dalene Young, October Moore
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Rob Feld (Nicolas Cage) lives alone in the woods - well, almost alone, as he sustains himself by hunting truffles with his beloved pet pig. They find the food, and in turn the son of his boss, Amir (Alex Wolff), makes a trip into the middle of nowhere to pick up the truffles and leave Rob's requests for supplies, it's as simple as that and has worked out thus far for the hermit as he wants nothing more than to be left alone and never to speak to anyone if he can help it. But the real world has a habit of intruding: one night, he is woken by the pig panicking at the door of their shack, and suddenly someone breaks in, grabs the animal and beats Rob to the floor.

You kind of know what you are going to get at this stage in Cage's career, that being, something where you do not know what you are going to get. Seemingly determined to show off his range at every opportunity, that's not necessarily what he was known for as his fans, or a lot of them at least, preferred it when he brought the crazy, yet here was a film where the crazy was in the premise, but the rest of it was disarmingly sincere. A look at grief through the eyes of men who cannot process it and have no idea how to react to it, which frankly could be most men, if Pig did not go in the direction you anticipated, that was thanks to it being unprecedented in the first place.

If you have heard of this but not seen it, you may know how it begins, with someone stealing Cage's porker and, once he has picked himself up from a pool of sticky blood on the floorboards, he vows to get the creature back. If you were unkind, you could observe the pig was merely taking the female role in any number of action flicks, and looking forward to our man going medieval on various asses, but if anyone was being punished it was him as he spends most of the movie caked in blood and purple with bruises, makeup that stood in for the hard knocks any man receives as he makes his path through this vale of tears. Oh yes, this could be pretentious as anything too.

On the other hand, those pretensions were supported by a real feeling of loss that plays up the unfairness of it all, and in a heterosexual kind of way the emptiness masculinity suffers if there is no woman in his existence to share experiences with. There were allusions to Greek myth, but something less specific may cause the manlier viewer to tear up a little, especially if you responded to lost, reticent men breaking down when the pressure gets too much to bear. Over and over, the male characters were confronted with emotions they would prefer never to face up to, and if given the choice between interacting with other people or Rob's hermit lifestyle, the fact that the latter meant there was no chance anyone would ever see you cry ever again made it the obvious option.

Pig cut so deep into the heart of masculinity that the female characters should by all rights be mere cardboard, but aside from the tweaker we meet briefly, they are there to gingerly offer some comfort, be that in a professional capacity as a waitress, or someone more able to give a little hug, just to keep you going. There was nothing sexual about this - as Rob says, he didn't fuck his pig - it was purely a human connection that a man was not willing or capable of providing for a man, and if that was an old-fashioned view of the world, then maybe Rob was an old-fashioned kind of guy. Wolff, too, contributed as the slick, superficial Amir, but even he has his hidden pain, and his father (Adam Arkin), who really likes to be in control, has buried his emotions in his work so cannot share them with his son, never mind any woman. Though there were still questions at the close, we learn enough, and the final shot of utter loneliness was something that would haunt anyone who has ever been trapped unable to share their fears and woes. Cage surprised again by being remarkable, almost out of nowhere. Music by Alexis Grapsas and Philip Klein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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