Noah Thompson’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm on Fire
No tears on this viewing either, but this is still one of those movies where after it's done, you have to just sit through the credits for a minute or so, whether that's to collect yourself or offer a space to just think solely about the film for a little bit. I think about how bothered I was by the notion that the film You Were Never Really Here was some brand new take on the revenge thriller subgenre. I don't like that movie for a variety of reasons, but the biggest one I think is its pretentiousness towards how clearly elevated it seems to think it is, only to actually be more crass and careless with its characters and plotting under the guise of A24 One Perfect Shot type aesthetics to make you think it's above films like Drive or Taxi Driver or whatever it could be and has been compared to. In a recent video where he discussed Pig with RedLetterMedia companion Mike Stoklasa, Jay Bauman declared that Pig may be his favorite modern release since The Witch. I will state that I am more liberal with the slew of modern films that I adore, a handful I love even more than Pig, but I think Jay is onto something about picking up with how special Pig may truly be. It's not often anymore, in an oversaturated market of movies where it's easier than ever to get things made but harder than ever to find a stable audience, that a movie feels like it's doing something rather unique unto itself. Not 100% original so much as it stands up among the crowd and not only in some way declares itself to be incredible, but actually is, in fact, incredible and profound. So, yeah, Pig may just be a modern masterwork if you were to ask me. This is the anti-revenge thriller. This is a movie not about vengeance, but its moral and reactionary polar opposites: Compassion, empathy, and connection. Robin Feld is a man disillusioned with the modern world, and for very good reason. However, when he interacts with others, it never feels as though he is looking down on anyone. His somberness isn't disdain so much as disappointment. Why is it that so many people must reject what they truly want to do, try to be someone that they're simply not, just for whatever extra bit of attention or flimsy "love" could get them a stable job and a worthwhile wage? That scene with Robin and the chef at that fancy restaurant is phenomenal, a three-way actor's paradise, not because it's Robin tearing down this chef to make him feel lesser. It's about having someone willing to confront you about how you're wasting yourself away. We don't get much time at all in this world, even if we all get to live to a hundred. Not much time to find anything, much less things we can say we love, care about, and want to hold close. So, any moment not spent with that, for the pursuit of love and happiness that can come for yourself through others, plus how you can make the lives of so many other people better, can be a moment wasted. This isn't a one-way track, you are connected to far more people than you may think. Yes, you, the person reading this. Not everyone you know is going to really care about you on the most profound level. Most simply won't. But, that's not an excuse to be anything lesser than the ideal version of yourself that you can be. The ending of this, while still of course going into complete Sad City, was not as heart-breaking or devastating on a rewatch. Instead, as I type this review, I think more of the "What comes after?" question Pig leaves for you and its characters. And no, it's not the Mandy type of "What comes after?" question either. It's not that Robin, Amir, and Darius have nothing left before the film cuts to black. It's the polar opposite, actually. They all have a whole life to live still, and there's still going to be pain, there will be time wasted and lackluster connections, but the additional question then comes in the form of "How are you going to spend the time with what comes after?" As Robin looks up above him, a light shining on his face, that marks not closure so much as an acknowledgement that an integral part of his life has now been book-ended, so with that, a new day to continue the same life. Still can't recommend this movie enough, it's some Pig.