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Movie Review: 'Pig' Is Truly One Of The Best Movies Of The Year

Nicolas Cage in 'Pig'
courtesy NEON
Nicolas Cage in 'Pig'

I’ve seen one of the best movies of the year, although I wonder if you won’t think I’m serious when I tell you what it is. The movie is Pig, and it stars Nicolas Cage as a reclusive truffle hunter, whose truffle pig is stolen in a nighttime home invasion, and who sets out to find the people responsible.

Now, at this point, we’re primed to expect certain things from this setup and this star—after all, we’re living in a post-John Wick world, and Cage has spent the last decade or so of his career putting out a handful of movies a year that let him go wild, not that some of them haven’t been very good.

But it’s clear director Michael Sarnoski and his cowriter Vanessa Block are well aware of the baggage we’re bringing to this movie, and they brilliantly confound our expectations. In fact, every time we got to a point where I thought, “ok, here we go,” well… there we went, in another direction entirely. But it’s not just about expectations: so many pieces of this movie could have been played wrong, but Sarnoski gets them exactly right. What Pig does, so impressively, is become a movie about loss, a movie about how we understand and cope with that loss, about how we struggle with the impermanence of all things, about how we create and find meaning in our lives, and about memory and our connection to it—crucially, in that last case, through the influence of our senses. As someone whose love language is food, I found the way the movie shows that relationship to be deeply affecting. In fact, there’s one scene in particular-- one line, even-- when I could physically feel the movie elevate, and from there, it continues to rise. Cage, for his part, is gorgeously understated, carrying a pain we don’t know, but that bleeds from his pores.

And here I suspect you still don’t believe me about Pig. No matter. You’ll see it for yourself and you’ll realize that it’s a far more profound experience than you’re imagining, and that it truly is one of the best movies of the year.

Pig is in theaters July 16

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.