REVIEW: PIG (EIFF 2021, Altitude)

Pig is the directorial debut from Michael Sarnoski starting Nicolas Cage (Mandy, Color Out of Space), Alex Wolff (Hereditary, Old) and Adam Arkin (Halloween H20). The film is about a recluse, Robin Feld (Nicolas Cage), who has his prized truffle-hunting pig stolen by thugs and he has to find her again.

Using a small but experienced cast, Pig is very heavy on character development. Robin (Nicholas Cage) is initially portrayed as a simple man with little interest in social interaction and tangible things ; all he cares about is his companion pig. However, there is more to the character than meets the eye, as we discover his background as a former chef and his connections with the local community. Robin works closely with Amir (Alex Wolff), a young determined man who is trying to find his foot as an entrepreneur and win the respect from his father (and successful businessman) Darius (Adam Arkin). Amir, like Robin, is a complex character and his cocky attitude at the beginning mellows down when we understand he is hurting inside from lack of self worth and external recognition. Darius, Amir’s father is portrayed as a ruthless, heartless businessman who only cares about money, but we discover his human side as the film progresses. Simply put, the writing and character design is consistently excellent and it forms the backbone of a very strong film production.

It is very hard to pigeonhole Pig, it has a mixture of comedy, drama and thriller all rolled into one. The film does get more serious as it progresses and there are coming of age themes for both Robin and Amir. There is a lot to say about the plot but it is really worth experiencing it for yourself first hand. The script is water tight and 90 minutes flies by as you are totally immersed in the story. For a debut feature film, the production values are very high, it has the look and feel of a big budget production.

The genius of Pig is in its title. A three letter word carries so much power and links in perfectly with the screenplay itself. Pig implies connotations of greed (hence, as greedy as a pig) and this is a strong theme throughout the movie. The theft of Robin Feld’s prized pig is driven by greed, and the motives of the other key characters are driven by making money. Pig also may imply a reference to a simple life (like a pig in a trough) which Robin tries to live without conflict or intrusion. Besides the excellent choice of title, Pig also drives home some very thoughtful messages. Sometimes looking for something you’ve lost brings disappointment and misery when you find it…

Pig is an extremely moving and delicate film which brings out the very best in Cage, Wolff & Arkin with career defining performances. The film is rife with social commentary and hidden messages which will leave a long lasting effect on viewers. Michael Sornoski makes a big impression with his feature length debut; an early contender for best film of the festival.

Score: 5/5

PIG has its European Premiere on Wednesday 18th August at Festival Theatre at 7pm as part of Edinburgh International Film Festival 2021.