We often take for granted many things in life, but perhaps none more than food. Sure, the phone always eats first and people are regularly meeting for lunch, a quick bite or debating favorite snacks like we do on the podcast, but even then, it really feels like surface level appreciation. We eat food because it’s a burst of momentary joy and essential for nourishment, but maybe a select few actively go a step further to truly enjoy the act of eating a meal. Pig, the debut film from Michael Sarnoski, understands those select few and delves briefly into that mindset.
Starring Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, and of course, the titular pig, this tight film is a somber and deeply reflective piece of work that breaks down the beauty of food, the crushing realization of not attaining one’s dreams, and the price of success; all through the lens of a man searching for his pig. It’s genuinely impressive at the level in which Sarnoski is able to tackle so much in what could have been a wild John Wick-esque style film starring Cage. Instead, Cage reminds audiences yet again that he has always been a phenomenal actor. Played with such soft emotion and depth of character, Cage’s Rob is a man on a mission, not of revenge, but rather a quest for the one thing that seems to bring him peace. In a world of chaos, his pig is all he needs for serenity.
And as the film progresses, we see Rob‘s perspective on the outside world, for lack of a better term. We see not disgust, but pity, for those he once knew, those he once worked with, for those he once worked for. The film is broken into three distinct acts, each with their own ideal to spread, served out like a lovely three course meal full of substance. And if Pig were indeed a three-course meal, it wouldn’t just taste delicious, but it would look simply incredible on the table, begging to be posted on Instagram. While this is a debut, it is evident Sarnoski is aware of the somber energy exuding from every line of dialogue needing space to breathe. As such, we get these beautiful long takes of conversations, or of self-reflection, or of a beautiful meal being crafted. It is here that the film thrives, mainly due to the powerhouse performances from both Cage and Wolff, who continues to impress with each role he takes on.
For me, Pig is reminiscent of an amalgamation of some of my favorite moments from recent films, while still remaining wholly unique which is deeply impressive. To say more would be to give away moments that deserve their beauty to be witnessed for the first time on screen, but trust that you’re in the capable hands of both cast and crew. Food has always been deeply important in my life, as a way of getting to know people better, sharing memories that last a lifetime, and simply creating something from nothing. It’s magic unfolding before our very eyes, and it’s something more people should truly appreciate as a whole. Rob makes a point to mention there are only so few things we get to truly love in this world, and it’s time we start recognizing and capitalizing on them; not just for ourselves, but for those around us as well.
Pig is being released in theaters by NEON Pictures on July 16th.