Pig ★★★★★

A thoughtful meditation into the manifestation of grief, of profound loss and how deeply it can wound, and the definition of meaning in one’s life. Like a painting of loneliness and finding peace through acceptance. 

Beautifully presented, meditative story, that hoodwinked many into thinking it was John Wick with a pig, but is virtually anti-Wick, far more in common with Pixar’s UP; the pig being the house, Nicolas Cage a roughed-up, quieter Mr Fredricksen and Alex Wolf a louder-mouthed Russell with similar daddy issues.

Falls into place like a gradual divulgence of flavours in a complex dish, or a glass of fine wine, and should be digested as such. Pig isn’t afraid to disappoint the audience who are wrong about erroneous expectations, during moments where you’d expect a violent outburst as in typical revenge thrillers (and they are framed as such), Nicolas Cage instead delivers a trenchant insight and soulful revelation. Subtler touches denote a story with heart, heeps of it, made by those who have succumbed to isolation, one that bears all for everyone to see, each scene bursting with chaotic yet tranquil feeling. 

On the back of maddening, self-destructing turns in Mandy or Mom and Dad, Nicolas goes back into his cage. The best expressionist actor delivers a masterclass in his most minimalistic, assured, riskiest and moving role in years. Haven’t seen him so good since Joe from 2013, knocking the wind right out of me, utterly transfixed by his face speaking a thousand stories of hurt, all his cards face-up. Alex Wolff continues to display acting ability accomplished far beyond his years that exceeds in his short but fruitful career. No nose-breaking in sight this time, just an outwardly boisterous but inwardly solemn, aspiring boy stricken and tortured by aspiring to his lousy father’s great expectations. 

Perfect double-bill with Riders of Justice, both anti-revenge and deconstructive of toxic-masculinity, along with two unusual turns from their stars. Another Mads Mikkelsen film it reminded me of from this same year was Another Round, one which I had thought was a shoe-in for my favourite of 2021, but this tops it with an introspected and intimate view on seclusion, of a lack of friends or companions, of moving on. 

Really nice touch adding the dish titles at the end of the credits, the icing on a cake with heart and soul put into making it. Cage is fantastic, Wolff is fantastic, Adam Arkin is fantastic, underground restaurant worker fight club was bizarrely fantastic. Beautiful, empathetic, human. Michael Saronski’s impenetrable directorial debut is a powerful, poignantly understated representation of despair, sorrow and what it means to love, to be loved. An irresistible, primal simplicity to the film, the bacon well and truly taken home. I'll have seconds, please.

Favourites 2021

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