There are always many people that gather at intersections in my city looking for help.
Most are not really seen and, if seen, they’re ignored.
Yet, all of these people have a story, and that story may be something that would blow us away if we knew it.
“Pig,” a new drama thriller starring Nicolas Cage, shares the story of one of those people.
Rob (Cage) lives out in the wilds around Portland, Oregon. He makes ends meet by finding truffles and selling them – aided by his pig.
As we enter the story, he is out looking for mushrooms with the pig faithfully by his side. He finds a group of mushrooms and takes them back to the shack he lives in in the wild.
We watch as he prepares them, learning that not all of his find is for sale. With great care and ability, he creates a pizza of hand-thrown crust and truffles. He and his pig are at rest with each other.
Later, Amir (Alex Wolff) comes to the shack to bring supplies as pay for the truffles. Rob is disheveled and must be smelly, as Amir asks Rob if he wants a camp shower to wash off.
At night, Rob goes to bed with his pig. In the middle of the night, the pig hears sounds that awaken Rob. There is someone outside who breaks into the shack.
Rob is beaten severely. When he awakens, he finds that his pig was kidnapped.
Going out to his old truck, he tries to drive out in search of his pig. The truck has sat for so long it will not go but a small distance, so he begins walking to a local café.
Entering the café, he asks for Marge. She was the owner, but he is told she has been dead for 10 years.
Rob asks to use the phone; he calls Amir, and the search for the pig takes off.
To tell too much more of the story would ruin it for anyone who plans to see the film. So, let me say that it was a ride that I had great joy in taking.
Rob has a story. He is more than this bum who has blood dried on his face and in his hair and beard.
The film takes us into a world unlike any world most of us have been in or to.
“Pig” initially seems like it might follow the general plot of the first “John Wick” movie in which Wick comes out of his self-imposed retirement to search for the killer of his dog.
“Pig” may look like this, but it is so much more. Rob has a backstory that is interesting to see get fleshed out in his search for his pig.
Cage is one of the finest actors of our day, but the choices he makes in film roles give many pause. Generally, he plays a character who uses violence to deal with the circumstance before him.
There is violence here, but Cage is on the receiving end. He brings a strength based on the love of his animal.
As noted at the beginning of the review, I saw this movie and thought about the people whom we see and pass by quickly.
Ralph W. Neighbour years ago spoke of the category of people whom Rob would fall into as “landscape people.” They just fade into the landscape of our living.
Rob’s story spoke to me and made me wonder how many people we pass by who have stories that may stop us in our tracks if we but knew them.
John Prine wrote a song that he ended with these words:
So if you’re walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes
Please don’t just pass ’em by and stare
As if you didn’t care, say, “Hello in there, hello.”
The story of “Pig” speaks to Neighbour’s point and how he said that Jesus did not have landscape people in his life. All people were worthy of his time and attention.
Maybe we need to be the same.
MPAA Rating: R for language and violence
Director: Michael Sarnoski
Writers: Michael Sarnoski and Vanessa Block
Cast: Nicolas Cage (Rob), Alex Wolff (Amir), Adam Arkin (Darius), Darius Pierce (Edgar)
The movie’s website is here.