Pig ★★★★½

About as authentic a picture as I've seen from Nic Cage in a long time. Cage has spent the last two decades of his career operating on a principle of maximalism. He goes big, often to ludicrous effect. Films like Mandy capture this manic energy and harness it to brilliant aesthetic ends. Other films like Color Out of Space try, but have a harder time wrangling the overflowing contours of Cage's more expressive performances into something cohesive and engaging. Yet other films like Mom and Dad fumble his style entirely, allowing the energy to overpower the film and become stale.

Pig is both a return to the more contained style of Cage's early career, while simultaneously forging new ground for the actor. The premise sounds like hobo John Wick - a truffle farmer's pig is kidnapped, while he's left for dead, so the farmer must venture back into civilization to track down leads and enact justice. In practice, this is a far more understated film about regret, isolation, companionship, desperation, and redemption. As the hidden folds of Cage's character come untucked, we see glimpses of the sad and sorry slope that led him here. None of it feels contrived or tidy and all of it is performed with precise excellence from the wonderful cast, including Hereditary's Alex Wolff.

Aside from Passing, this is one of the very best films I've seen all year. It's a performance piece, yes, but, oh what a powerful performance it is. Seek this out.

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