Entertainment Nicolas Cage gets beyond the meme in Pig, a slow-burn revenge drama

02:05  19 september  2021
02:05  19 september  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Pig is a 2021 American drama film co-written and directed by Michael Sarnoski in his directorial debut. It stars Nicolas Cage , Alex Wolff, and Adam Arkin, and follows a truffle forager whose beloved truffle-finding pig is stolen. It was released theatrically in the United States on July 16, 2021, by Neon.

Свинья: Directed by Michael Sarnoski. With Nicolas Cage , Alex Wolff, Cassandra Violet, Julia Bray. 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. In an after film Q&A, director Michael Sarnoski revealed the pig only had three days of training and bit Nicolas Cage multiple times. After a particularly nasty bite, Cage joked: "I've been set on fire, I've been in flipped cars but it'll be sepsis from a pig bite that kills me."

Director Michael Sanorski told IndieWire that Pig is © Provided by ABC NEWS Director Michael Sanorski told IndieWire that Pig is "not John Wick with a pig".  (Supplied: Madman)

Despite being one of the more gifted, and certainly most original actors of the last half-century, Nicolas Cage has spent the last decade becoming more meme than man, carving out the kind of erratic career that tends to attract the worst kind of fandom: smug rubberneckers gleefully anticipating the latest 'bonkers' turn from the erstwhile Oscar winner.

Perhaps it's because Cage has inhabited so many grizzled men of vengeance in straight-to-video titles that his new movie, Pig – concerning a truffle-hunting woodsman whose swine is kidnapped by dastardly restaurateurs – seems poised to play right into those narrative expectations: John Wick for hirsute, artisanal foodies, maybe.

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Mandy, starring Nicolas Cage , is a death-metal horror about a guy seeking revenge for the murder of his girlfriend … named Mandy. There is some serious vexation here. The displeasure is brought onstream. And maybe he is – although it’s possible that Mandy is his tribute to how an American version of Sir Donald Wolfit might play Titus Andronicus. Cage certainly takes us way beyond the laugh with/laugh at debate.

Nicolas Cage is having a strong 2021 with the release of the acclaimed drama “ Pig ” and the upcoming Sion Sono-directed Samurai-Western “Prisoners of the Ghostland.” Speaking to Collider, Cage vowed never to see “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” when it comes time to premiere the movie and release it in theaters in April 2022. The film is co-written by director Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten. Cage co-produced the movie, but even he realizes the version of himself that he’s playing is too far gone to watch.

Yet the pleasant surprise of Michael Sarnoski's debut feature is just how well it subverts those tropes, eschewing maximal body counts for a sombre slow burn that's all the more effective for its melancholic, existential unease.

Revenge isn't just served cold here, it's packed in ice and laid out on an Arctic platter alfresco.

Somewhere deep in the Oregon woods, Cage's bearded, stringy-haired loner Rob Feld moves through the rustic wilderness like a prehistoric hobo, his sole companion a marmalade-coloured truffle pig who helps sniff out his meagre living and soothe his troubled soul. (There's a whole buddy movie just waiting to be made about the adventures of these two.)

Rob was once a celebrated chef and has since retreated to life in a timber shack, where he spends his days stoically making pies and poring over a cassette recording from a long-departed lover, presumably one of the reasons for his self-imposed isolation.

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Someone will kidnap Cage 's beloved pig , in Pig . Nicolas Cage and Alex Wolff (Hereditary) have signed up for a new independent drama movie called Pig . Collider confirmed the news, which was fairly light on details, but the film will be directed by Michael Sarnoski in his feature film debut. As Nicolas Cage returns to Oscar-worthy form in David Gordon Green's extraordinary Southern Gothic drama Joe, we celebrate some of the strangest roles he's essayed along the way, from insect-munching Manhattanite to bee-wrangling bear impersonator. It's not always pretty, but it's never boring

Nicolas Cage is an Oscar-winning actor, a blockbuster headliner, and one of the most distinctive and idiosyncratic stars in Hollywood history. His out-there energy has invigorated films as varied as Vampire’s Kiss, The Rock, Leaving Las Vegas, Face-Off, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and Ghost Rider, all of which feature unique wild-man performances that could have been delivered by no one else. Mord claimed that the snapshot was proof that Cage was, in fact, an undead vampire, thus begetting one of the strangest memes in internet history.

Rob's only visitor is Amir (Hereditary's Alex Wolff), a callow young restaurant buyer who shows up to collect his spoils and serve as an obnoxious character counterpoint: flaunting a moustache, mustard-yellow Camaro, and a presumptuous knowledge of cool Portland hangouts, he's culinary imposter as slimy Coachella executive, desperate to prove his cultural cache.

It's clear which side of the lifestyle divide Sarnoski is on, even before things take a turn for the sour – or should that be sow-er – when a bunch of shadowy goons bust in late at night and Piggy Sue gets carried off to Portland, leaving Rob bruised and bloodied and minus his only friend.

When the chef wakes, peeling himself from the floor to which his head-wound has glued him, you can all but smell the aroma of payback being baked in the earth oven, some version of Cage: Pig in the City ready to roll.

Enlisting Amir as his reluctant chauffeur, Rob barrels into Portland in search of the pignappers, trawling through dive bars and old timey hotels that cinematographer Patrick Scola shoots like they've been submerged in a vat of craft beer.

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Nicolas Cage , Actor: Face/Off. Nicolas Cage was born Nicolas Kim Coppola in Long Beach, California, the son of comparative literature professor August Coppola (whose brother is director Francis Ford Coppola) and dancer/choreographer Joy Vogelsang. He is of Italian (father) and Polish and German (mother) descent. Cage changed his name early in his career to make his own

Then the pig gets kidnapped and he needs to venture into Portland to try and find her!” That is roughly the plot to the upcoming film “ Pig ," which started production Monday in Oregon. Pulse Films, BlockBox Entertainment, Valparaiso Pictures and Saturn Pictures are producing, along with Cage . All joking aside, " Pig " is a big moment for writer-director Michael Sarnoski. Sarnoski, who is making his big-screen directorial debut with " Pig ," described the film as “…a very personal project [that] has transformed into a labor of love for so many talented people.

In this familiar netherworld, everyone Rob encounters seems to regard him as a ghost, a past returned to haunt them.

But although Rob has a fondness for growling "I want my pig" like a mantra presaging a bloodbath, Cage and Sarnoski slowly but surely deflate his quest for retribution, slackening the film's physical tension and wrong-footing the audience in clever ways.

In a pivotal early scene, Rob materialises at an underground fight club with echoes of the notorious Bumfights, where the one-time top chef – seemingly prepped for an explosive showdown with his opponents – lays himself out for a brutal punishment, soaking up all the woe and malice of the environment like some dishevelled pacifist monk.

Pig's mournful rhythm probably won't appease an audience hoping for some hog-wild Cage rampage, the kind that powered the strained wackiness of his revenge dirge Mandy, or saw the actor reach a low earlier this year as an animatronic-mascot-pummeling cipher in the cringey Willy's Wonderland.

Cage's method of payback here isn't fists, guns or Just for Men, but something altogether more withering: a thousand-yard stare and the haunted wisdom of a man who's been conversing with nature for 15 years, casually dropping chilling existential tirades that leave his opponents rattled.

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With his earth-tone rags and beard flecked with blood the colour of autumn leaves, it's as though Rob has been summoned from the landscape itself to lay bare the hell of fusion restaurants peddling bespoke experiences, rambling – in a grimly amusing manner – about earthquakes and tidal waves and the city returning to primal dust.

On occasion, the film does overplay the character's authenticity, suggesting a faux realness as contrived as the culture it seems to lampoon: in one scene, Rob delivers a life-grilling to an unctuous chef that would be more believable if the latter didn't resemble a corporate villain from an 80s comedy – hardly the kind of culinary artisan patrons might flock to a hot Portland joint for.

But by the time Pig encounters its final boss, a sinister figure who dwells in a Portland mansion and proves arrogantly resistant to Rob's porcine pleas, the payback is as delicious as any exploding head or impaled villain.

Most of this wouldn't simmer the way that it does without Cage, who delivers one of his finest performances in recent memory, and it's a pleasure to see a filmmaker willing to resist the easy path and trust in his actor's ability to underplay. Stripped of his much-parodied tics and mannerisms, Cage proves that he has aged less like a fine wine than an old whisky – flavoured here with hints of Oregon wood and the Pacific Northwest breeze.

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With Pig, he shows us that sometimes the best one can do is simply be mindful, to extend a little empathy – even to those who don't walk on all fours.

Pig is in cinemas now.

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