Robin Feld is battered and bruised. His lone companion in the woods where he lives is a truffle-foraging pig, and she’s been kidnapped by assailants who left Robin bloody on the floor. Without pause – or a wash – he sets off with his business partner Amir to find his pig.

But a violent revenge film this ain’t. Like John Wick and like Nobody, there are murmurs of the man Robin used to be as he tears through the city on a mission. Even ragged and caked in filth he commands respect in certain circles, the memory of who he once was awakening deeply personal memories in who he encounters. These encounters are often quiet, over a dinner table or in a dimly lit bakery at night. They might be facilitated by anger, but in execution they are tender, and ultimately the film is too. In place of the memeified rage of Nicolas Cage is a gentle performance, one where reserved physicality gives way to empathy and understanding. It is a delicate turn from Cage, who says a lot with a little.

Michael Sarnoski, in his directorial debut, subverts expectations of the premise and his lead actor. Yes, there is pain, and yes, there is catharsis. But it is through loss and healing, in making people realise what really matters, and not through conversations had with fists. It is a film felt in your gut as much as your heart, in large part thanks to the way Cage portrays the damage of emotional isolation, alone among fallen autumn leaves. It is also in part thanks to the way Pig knows there is nothing gained from gleeful anger.

In going against type, Pig is less the film you want, more the film you need. Dialled back, profoundly human, and with Nicolas Cage on finest form, it leaves a tangible sense of having witnessed something intimate and almost majestic.



CAST: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin

DIRECTOR: Michael Sarnoski

WRITERS: Michael Sarnoski, Vanessa Block

SYNOPSIS: A truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped.