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The Crack Magazine

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Pig

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin

This bracingly original debut from cowriter-director Michael Sarnoski walks a fine line between absurdism and realism, and comedy and complete earnestness. Consequently, Nicolas Cage is a fitting lead.

He is Robin, a reclusive grizzled loner who has quit society for initially unspecified reasons. He now spends his time with this pet pit, foraging for truffles in the Oregon woods. His solitude is interrupted once a week by Amir (Wolff), a flashy wannabe player who turns up in his yellow sports car to buy Rob’s finds to sell on to high-end Portland restaurant owners.

When Rob’s beloved pig is violently kidnapped, he immediately sets out to retrieve it. His dilapidated truck breaks down so he enlists a reluctant Amir to help him. Rob’s subsequent odyssey takes him through a bizarre foodie demimonde of trendy restaurants, ornate houses, even a foodie fight club, in search of his pig.

The plot summary may suggest a whacky take on the revenge genre, but the director and cast play it with the utmost seriousness, while taking the material into unexpected directions with Cage’s insular and understated performance drawing the viewer in to stirring effect. One sequence in which Rob, filthy and caked in blood, talks to an ambitious peppy restaurant manager and gradually strips away his illusions must rank among his best work. Wolff’s Amir is the perfect foil, his determination to exhibit a cool and sophisticated façade constantly undermined by Rob’s gruff behaviour.

Cinematographer Patrick Scola’s beautiful renderings of the Oregon wilderness invest it with an almost mythical quality appropriate for the parable-like simplicity of the tale.

Pig is released on 20th August

David Willoughby

Follow David on @the_Crack

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