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Backwoods chef

With unexpected turns, indie film Pig offers a unique tale of redemption


David Reamer/Neon

Backwoods chef
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Pig, an indie film that hit theaters nationwide on July 16, has garnered significant critical praise. While gritty at times—and featuring a bizarre storyline about a chef and his truffle pig—the film offers viewers unexpected surprises.

The first is star Nicolas Cage’s Oscar-worthy performance. Cage was once considered one of Hollywood’s most talented stars, giving memorable performances in Moonstruck and Leaving Las Vegas before financial trouble prompted him to seek films making blockbuster bucks instead of critical praise. But in Pig, Cage is at his best with his understated performance as Robin Feld, a once-famous chef now living as a loner backwoodsman.

The second surprise is that the bizarre storyline works: Rob, after living in isolation and off the grid, must return to the underbelly of Portland, Ore., to recover the prized truffle pig someone stole from him at his cabin.

First-time director Michael Sarnoski employs methodical pacing and slow character development that keep the audience guessing. And the film never goes where you expect. As Rob begins his quest, his zeal and single-mindedness may make viewers wonder if they’re in store for another vigilante justice movie with a high body count. Instead, Pig steals a page from Babette’s Feast, with Rob using fowl and baguettes in place of fists and bullets in his attempt to change his adversary’s heart.

While Pig is not John Wick, it certainly is not Babe either. It carries an R rating for significant foul language and one violent scene where Rob is severely beaten.

For all the film’s unanticipated turns, audiences will find the final act most satisfying: Rob discovers his deliverance from what really haunts him is far more valuable than his affection for his pig.

Pig is not a Christian movie, but audiences will find it seems to take a spiritual turn at the end. It’s refreshing to find a film that reminds us kindness is more powerful than anger, and redemption more satisfying than revenge.

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