Welcome to REEL Film Reviewed the show that delivers short spoiler free reviews of films, TV shows, and limited series followed by a deep dive discussion.
Brought to you by your host Kris Chaney, here is REEL Film Reviewed.
Welcome back, everyone.
This episode REEL Film Reviewed Pig, Nic Cage’s new film just released this year.
If you know anything about Nic Cage, you know that he does everything so his films can be super hit or miss.
Let’s get into the spoiler free review.
After a truffle hunter’s beloved pig is kidnapped from his remote cabin in the Oregonian wilderness, he returns to his past life in the city to retrieve her. As mentioned, Nic Cage’s films can be hit or miss and after reading the description for this film, it didn’t entice me to see it anymore. It was through curiosity and a lot of positive feedback that I was finally motivated enough to watch Pig. I’m very glad to report we have a Nic Cage good one ladies and gentlemen.
Nic Cage appears to be living pretty similar to how the Unabomber was living in a small, remote cabin with no running water and no technology of any kind. It’s just him and his pig who hunt truffle pretty much the majority of the day. And weekly Amir, a buyer from the city comes to buy his truffle from him.
We see briefly in the beginning that the pig is more than just a gifted truffle pig. She’s an emotional support animal of sorts for Rob more on that piece after the spoiler alert. A great piece of the story is how Amir and Rob’s relationship evolves and how it evolves is the key thing.
We do get a little inside look into the industry of truffle selling but that’s not the main focus of the film, obviously hence the title. The film focuses mainly on three characters, Rob, Amir and Amir’s father, Darius, everyone else plays a very minor role purely in support of moving the story forward, though David Knell has a pretty humorous moment in the film.
Nic Cage plays Rob, a hermit, nonconforming truffle hunter who is almost difficult to read. He’s quiet and for the majority of the film he doesn’t say a word. As they continue to search for the pig and they get to know each other, his character opens up in a really great way.
Alex Wolff did very well playing opposite Nic Cage, he’s been in a couple of things. I’m not really sold on his performances just yet because I’ve seen him in a couple of different things where he’s played just so many different types of roles like Jumanji. He’s kind of been in comedy and action and drama. He’s kind of finding his footing, I guess so, I’m kind of finding my footing along with him and how I feel. He so far has demonstrated himself pretty well on screen.
A little side note, Nicolas Cage is Alex Wolff’s favorite actor. It was a big film for him to do with Nic Cage.
Darius was played by Adam Arkin, and he was also great in this role. He’s presented to be this well known businessman but there is another side of him that’s brought out through the details in this film and I really enjoyed his role in this.
The REEL-view rating is 7 out of 10 stars.
This film is wonderfully done but there were a lot of components that were not explored in the film that could have been. There are characters that we could learn a little bit more about that would assist in intensifying the dramatic scenes. This could be due to editing and cutting out lots of the meat that would have helped.
Surprisingly, this film story is simple, but there was so much underlying drama that got stirred up by the search for the pig. It ends up being fairly enjoyable. I enjoyed that story, the story that we learned about as they searched for the pig. Overall, this was a solid Nic Cage film that both delivers an unexpected cinematic treasure and a story that we’ve never seen before.
Not bad, Nic. Thank you.
Pig was released in 2021 and it was directed by Michael Sarnosky, starring Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin and David Knell, and it is rated R and has a run time of 1 hour and 32 minutes.
It is available to rent or buy from Amazon and Amazon Prime Video and for free on Hulu.
All right, here is the Spoiler Alert warning.
Those new to REEL Film Reviewed after this point, I will discuss this review further, potentially and likely reviewing Spoilers.
Thank you for listening to the Spoiler free review.
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Welcome back, everyone.
Let’s dive into the REEL View Hollywood Comparison. The REEL View rating was 7 out of 10 stars.
Critics said 82 and popular opinion was 6.9.
This film earned Nic Cage the highest rating on Rotten Tomatoes that he’s received at 97%. So fairly decent, it was very well received by a lot of people.
There are a couple of components that I thought about after a little bit and as I started to do the review, that kind of made me think a little bit that maybe the film wasn’t as great as I thought it was so we’ll talk about that in a little bit. Still an overall enjoyable film, but there were some pieces to it that kind of leave you thinking like; “oh, yeah, I didn’t think about that.” [Laughs]
Real quick, this is interesting because this film is a great example of how the best films, the films that get nominated for Academy Awards, are often scored differently from the public opinion. Mine usually sides on the Academy Award criteria, I tend to demand a lot from my films. If you’re going to take me somewhere out there, then it needs to really hit for me to be down for it. But you’d be surprised, sometimes I love films that don’t do well and most of the time they don’t do well with the Oscars. So the Academy and I don’t always get along and don’t always agree.
Recapping this plot, Nic Cage is a reclusive truffle hunter and lives in a small, remote cabin with his truffle pig. She is very good at her job and finds large pieces of truffle for Rob to sell to the buyer named Amir. Amir comes weekly to pick up batches of truffle. One night after Amir leaves, two people break into the cabin and steal Rob’s beloved truffle pig.
The next morning he begins this journey of tracking and recovering his pig, and that kind of throws everybody off that he lives as this reclusive hermit but then he gets into his pickup truck and drives into town. Now, obviously, the pickup truck didn’t have gas and it broke down but it was just funny that he even owned a truck to begin with.
So we’re made to think that Rob is this crazy, remote, heartbroken hermit. We see him playing messages on a cassette tape when he gets home. They are clearly from a woman, and he appears to care about her and she’s clearly no longer there. So for the majority of the film, he’s cut and bleeding and doesn’t want to clean himself up or at least wipe the blood from his face.
The lack of care is super real for him in this film, and finally he begins to get some traction on the location of his pig but it does come with some strings.
We learn that Rob is Robin Feld, a once infamous chef that impacted Amir’s parents long ago, and it was years before he met Amir. The quest leads back to Amir’s dad, who informs him that after Robin serves him the same meal that he served his wife and him years earlier, the pig was accidentally killed during the kidnapping. And that was a really emotional scene because immediately, as soon as he tells him this, Rob falls to his knees and cries desperately. And it was one of the most painfully understood moments in the film. We all know how the love of a pet can feel and throughout the whole film, the only thing that he cared about was getting his pig back. And that scene was really important because there was a build up and we’ll get to that in a second but Darius is supposed to be this ruthless businessman, he’s scary. He’s “not a guy that you want to piss off” kind of guy and his kid kind of bullies him into coming downstairs.
First of all, the part was funny that they came into his house and they cooked an entire meal and he didn’t hear anything, he was just in his study the whole time. [Laughs] So when they finally do get him out and he goes down and he sits down for dinner, Rob is bringing out the plates and he sets it in front of everybody and he starts eating and kind of looks at everybody else to eat.
The wine and everything that he served, you can kind of tell was at first it just appears that it’s going to be a nice meal and then as you watch Darius, you realize; “okay, this is clearly the meal that he made for Darius and Amir’s mother when they were out on a date nights years before they met.” Amir had actually told him about that evening that his parents went out and they came back and they had just had this wonderful meal and they were happy. It was kind of just a tribute to how great of a chef Rob was. We even learned that Rob doesn’t need the pig in order to find truffles. He can tell by the trees, but he loves his pig and he just wants her back.
At the end, we learned that Rob had a wife who died. He was estranged from his Baker daughter, but they also share a sort of a touching moment in the film. He really had very little that he cared about. The impact of losing his pig is symbolic of what he had already lost before the film began, which was his first wife, which was first his wife and then his life by choice.
Breaking down the REEL-view there was not much I didn’t like about the film other than the over editing. We’ll get into the little known facts in a second and that will help explain a little bit about the timeline. But this film was originally over 2 hours long. There was clearly quite a bit that was cut out so I think that what was cut out was probably what would have given us more backstory on Rob’s life before now, possibly more into Amir’s dad and why he was considered so scary. And possibly a little more into Amir and his dad’s history.
We know that Amir is trying to build his business, but we’re not clear about exactly what that business is that he’s trying to build. He does appear interested when Rob cooks with him and is teaching him as he’s cooking. So does he want a restaurant? Does he want a buying business, or does he want to be a chef? It isn’t clear, nor is it really discussed. And that was about it.
I love the story that unfolded as they searched for the pig. I’m not sure how believable it was as far as the danger that they’re in while they’re looking for the pig. Before we know who Rob is, it’s very mysterious. He’s fairly crazy looking and come to find out, the reason everyone knows him is because he was this famous chef.
And it looks like in the beginning that it’s going to be a little bit of a darker story. There’s crack heads and possibly some drug deals. But it ends up being about secret truffle markets and underground kitchen fights and industry competitors and things like that.It presents scary, but it doesn’t actually explain anything.
We don’t know why Amir’s dad is scary, we don’t see him get violent. We know that he’s got money, sort of. There’s nothing really that even shows that he’s really really rich. I mean, he’s obviously wealthy. People know who he is, but he talks about this business being ruthless and that Amir is not cut out for it and I’m like; “You talking about the restaurant business, right?”
Just the way that they’re describing it, it sounds like it’s a drug business as opposed to a legal, legitimate restaurant business and even as Nic Cage is going through and he’s starting the quest, he’s talking to Amir and he’s like, could be that I know a couple of people that might know where this is or where I can find this or whatever. He goes into this hut, and he brings this guy a plate of food, and the guy doesn’t tell him anything, and he just walks out and he’s like; “Is that Edgar? How do you know him?” And nothing in the movie really gave you any inclination on who Edgar was. What he did–what I mean, okay, so he had kitchen fights. He hosted fights underground, like, fight club type stuff for kitchen hands and things like that and they would just like, fight after midnight, and he would collect money.
He was kind of like the inside man, but it was just all secret and back doors and slipping papers. And when you take back all of that, it’s like, okay, well, you guys are all working in the restaurant industry. You came in, stole this guy’s pig because you want to get a hand up and find some better truffle and he goes back to find his pig and the life that he’s revisiting is just that he was this famous chef and after his wife died, he becomes reclusive and just exits the scene. And that was it. So when you Peel back the layers, it’s a simple story.
Most films are fairly simple, but it didn’t really have a whole lot of seriousness to it. It was a great film, but it just was so dramatic for what the situation actually was.
Now I have a miniature Pinscher that I am very close with, and I actually have him and his puppy, but I’m just really close with him so I laughed because I was like; “He’s my truffle pig!” I would probably burn down half of America and probably bury the other half of America trying to find my dog if somebody came in and stole him from me so I understood this and it was definitely a passion mission, especially when we find out that Nicolas Cage knows how to find truffles.
He doesn’t even need the pig but at no point does he beat anyone up. He gets beaten up a little bit but there’s not really any–kind of like; Gone in 60 Seconds if there was no danger [Laughs] If that makes any sense. But when you think about it and you get to the end, there wasn’t really anything to show that Darius was dangerous or that he was in any danger and everybody just talked about; “Oh, he’s not really a guy you want to mess with.” He just didn’t end up being that bad, and he was fairly easy to beat, you just had to make him a little meal that kind of tugged at his heartstrings, and all of a sudden, he gives in. We don’t get any satisfaction. The pig’s dead. We never see the pig again. So it’s kind of like, oh okay, cool. [Laughs]
It just sort of ends, and Nicolas Cage gets dropped off, and he’s like, all right, see you Thursday, and that’s pretty much just it. Well done! But when you think about the actual point of the film and the storyline, it’s like, okay, well, do we really watch anything happening right now? He doesn’t even clean the blood off of his face. [Laughs] We get no resolution!
All right, let’s get into some little known facts.
The budget was very small for this film, so they could not hire a trained pig and the pig that they had in this film was an untrained pig that only had three days of training before they started shooting. And she also bit Nic Cage a few times.
The original cut was over 2 hours long and the distributors felt that it was too long. So they cut almost a full hour from the film.
The film was shot in 20 days, and my mom will like this little known fact, in the scene where they’re walking through the restaurant to the hidden passage underneath the restaurant, I guess, is kind of where it was. This was filmed in Huber’s, which is actually Portland’s oldest restaurant and bar. It was established in 1879 and the current owner, James Kai Louie, his family has run the restaurant since 1912, and he was used as an extra in the background as the characters were walking through. So that was pretty cool, a little bit of history there.
That is all I have for you today, everyone. A decent Nic Cage film, not one that we see too often, but I highly enjoyed it, and it was recommended to me and it was actually Film Twitter that kind of got me into watching.
I saw the cover, I read it, and then I’m like, I still really want to watch this. It was decent. Only an hour and a half long. Best hour and a half that I could have given that day.
Thanks for listening, everyone.
I’ll catch you next time.
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