A movie that exceeded all my expectations. Reading the description for Pig, directed by debutant Michael Sarnosky, I imagined something arthouse and weird starring Cage. Well, really, the plot “a pig has been stolen from a hero living in the wilderness, and he goes in search of it” does not sound very serious. To fall for this, you need to be either the same repulsed movie fan as I am, or a fan of Cage, or both – which is confirmed by the number of ratings for the film on Kinopoisk, which are 3 times less than that of the trashy “Wonderland Willy “ . But in fact, I got one of the best films of this year. Well, Cage proved that since the time of “Joe” he has not yet forgotten how to play serious dramatic roles.
Having moved from the city to the forest 15 years ago, Robin Feld (Nicolas Cage) completely isolated himself from people and civilization. There is no television or radio in his hut, only an old battery-operated cassette recorder to occasionally listen to the recording with the voice of his now deceased wife. Harmony with nature is broken only by a rare visit from the young goldfinch Amir (Alex Wolfe), with whom Robin prefers not to talk, but simply silently pass the collected truffles in exchange for food. But one day civilization still overtakes Robin and takes the only thing that is dear to him – his pig.
Classical music is perfect in terms of form, it was beautiful 200 years ago, beautiful today and will remain so in 200 years.
The return of Robin Feld, a brilliant chef, to Portland in search of a stolen pig (against the background of the death of his beloved) refers us to the plot of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. In it, the legendary singer and lyricist, after the death of his beloved wife, descended into the underworld after her (Portland, as Robin notes, used to be at a depth of 120 meters under water). There, with his singing and playing the lyre, he charmed Hades and Persephone (Feld repeats the best dinner in his life for his father Amir Darius) – so that they agreed to return Eurydice to earth (darius, deeply moved, tells the truth about the fate of the pig). Retelling the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in a modern way, director Michael Sarnosky confirms the idea that true art is immortal.
Funny detail: Feld, watching a show-off like Amir with his ridiculous yellow Camaro try to make himself look like an art connoisseur (common these days) by listening to a smart podcast about classical music, turns off his car radio in annoyance.
At Darius’ restaurant, the chef describes the menu as a newfangled concept of deconstruction – creating unusual dishes from familiar ingredients. In fact, the same concept is applied in Pig, which deconstructs popular revenge stories (the most obvious examples here are Mandy with the same Cage and John Wick) and endows them with new meanings.
Nicolas Cage fits perfectly into this concept, to his disappointment he acquired the status of a meme and demonstrates in the film the image of an intelligent and very reserved person. However, this did not stop many reviewers from writing headlines for “Pig” in the style: “Crazy Cage returns the stolen pig” – as if the actor was once again demonstrating his famous “Cage Rage”. But in the scene where Cage’s character finds out about the death of the pig, Sarnosky seems to turn off the sound on purpose, and we only see the hero’s pain, but do not hear him.
In “Pig” there is a reference to another famous film – “Fight Club”. The peculiarity of underground fights between restaurant workers is that one of the participants must not resist and withstand the blows for a minute. And the more weighty the name of the beaten, the greater the reward he claims.
There are not many things in the world that are worth our attention.
The name is one of the key concepts in the film. It is part of the social contract, by default, concluded between the owner of this name and society. If what you do is valuable and people pay attention to you, it gives you money and respect from people. But behind fake smiles and manners lies absolute indifference to you, and in this sense, underground fights are an honest reflection of the essence of this very social contract. The owner of the name is beaten, but in return they are given a sum of money proportional to the status.
The concept of name is closely related to reputation. Reputation is acquired with an eye on someone else’s opinion and is accompanied by the loss of oneself , but only by remaining oneself one can create something truly valuable. Most people are afraid to destroy their reputation, because otherwise, in their opinion, they will cease to exist. Feld’s old friend Edgar, who organizes underground fights, also thinks the same, but he is mistaken, because Rob’s name has not lost weight over the years, which was proved by the reaction of the battle participants to the unexpected appearance of Feld after 15 years of absence. Robin disappeared at the height of his fame, which is why he acquired the status of a legend, and such things are highly valued by society.
Feld does not care about people’s opinion at all, he walks the whole film in dirty clothes and with a broken face, ignoring any flattery in his direction. All he cares about is his beloved pig. But this was not always the case, as the dialogue between Robin and Darius hints at – apparently, the death of his wife opened Feld’s eyes to the essence of society. He devoted his whole life to serving people, he remembered everyone he had ever cooked for, but the only person truly worthy of his attention was his beloved. And when she died, Robin decided to go into the forest and live as a hermit, continuing to practice culinary art for the sake of art itself.
The difficult name belongs to Robin’s wife Laurie, which is short for Lorelei. That was the name of the heroine of German folk legends, who appeared in the form of a river enchantress. The name itself goes back to the name of a steep cliff on the right bank of the Rhine near the city of Sankt Goarshausen in Germany. According to legend, at dusk and in the moonlight, a girl appeared on this rock, “who sang so seductively that she captivated all who listened to her.” At the end of the film, we will hear Lorelei singing in honor of her husband’s birthday.
The image of the river is also used in the film – the corresponding frame begins “Pig”. Portland is also located on the banks of the Columbia and Willamette rivers, where Robin arrives in search of a pig. There, we will hear from him a story about an upcoming earthquake and the flooding of the city. This is a metaphor for the inevitability of death in the context of the fact that people spend their lives on unattended things in the pursuit of which they lose themselves. At the same time, it can be considered a kind of warning to all mankind before the forces of nature.
The most prestigious restaurant in the city, owned by Darius, personifies a large and soulless corporation. Corporations take the resources they see fit – how much, from whom and when they want. Nothing personal, just business. The people who work for such corporations often become less human themselves. Only the infringement of their business interests can cause any emotional response from such entrepreneurs. Thus, the mistress of a truffle farm named Mac helps Robin, not because she thinks it is right, but because she thinks that with the help of a stolen pig, a couple of robbers dig up truffles on her plots.
Corporations working for the sake of profit (this image is demonstrated in a short scene at the Mac truffle farm) are contrasted with Cage’s hero, a master of his craft, who remembers every dish he cooked and the person to whom it was intended. He is driven not by profit, but by love for creation and art. Pay attention to the trepidation with which the hero treats each ingredient in the scenes of cooking, this feeling is enhanced by close-ups and music.
It is to the feeling of beauty, love that Feld appeals when he repeats for Darius the most memorable dinner in his life. And he succeeds. This is what distinguishes Sarnosky from the same Soderbergh – according to the director of “Pig”, behind each system there are living people with their weaknesses, which means there is a chance to reach out to them. In this sense, art appears as a universal key to everyone. So, the company of Robin, who appears in the form of a wise mentor, heals Amir, deprived of his father’s love for years, and in the finale we see his tears. As for the hero of Cage, having once again lost the most precious thing, he probably found a worthy student.
Pig movie explained
Debutant Michael Sarnoski doesn’t use Rob’s Portland odyssey to dazzle viewers with justified brutality. The Pig hurts in a different way, taking a tour of the restaurant economy, from farmer to CEO. The pig chase is just an excuse: for Amir to see how the notorious market really works, for Rob – once a legendary local chef – to plunge into memories, see the city he left 15 years ago; the city where he once had a family and a name.
The myth of Orpheus surfaced not by chance: following the mythical musician, Robin will be convinced that illusion is often better than knowledge; what is fearful to lose must be lost. His powerful opponent – part-time evil double – came out, rather, from the version of Tennessee Williams, in 1957placedOrpheus and Eurydice in the scenery of the American South. In order to increase the cultural layer, Amir all the way tortures an audiobook about classical music, in which a wise announcer tries to convince listeners that “classics” is not an artificially formed concept, but some objective value, equally obvious 200 years ago, today – and 200 years later .
Sarnosky works precisely on the contrast of scales: a huge business against the ambitions of one person, a majestic panorama through gluing with the look of a pig, eternity next to a laconic memory. Every time Robin Feld opens his mouth, he says something wise: about the transience of time, about the modest place of humanity in the ecosystem and eternity, and finally, about the fact that it is pointless to get involved in a social game – everyone, in general, does not care – about you, on your concepts, past and future. There is a specter of status – a value that “must be reckoned with” – but things will not go beyond bows and respectful glances; if necessary, Business will take the last pig from you – in general, just like that. Because it can.
In one of the key scenes – almost everyone claims this status in the middle of the film – the chef in the most fashionable institution in Portland explains to Robin and Amir that “deconstruction” is popular today. Turning familiar (local) products into unfamiliar ones, something completely different. And that’s true of The Pig itself, whose backbone of revenge films helps keep it from exposing an era of franchises, brands, and the vogue of the natural and the local. Steven Soderbergh, a regular performer in this genre (his recent film noir“No extra moves”talked about the causes of the Detroit collapse), I would certainly have approved.
And it is in contrast to Soderbergh that the true ambitions of the debutant are noticeable, who bypasses the texture and history of Portland, one of the whitest cities in America (the strong positions of the Ku Klux Klan and skinheads are attached). The Pig is Hemingway’s meaningful prose, even divided into three chapters with gastronomic titles. The old man in the world of the dried-up sea and the victorious rationality of capital. Sarnosky does not allow a single word in simplicity, rewarding Rob’s wife with the uneasy name of Lorelei – river maiden-enchantment.
A solid accompaniment to a story about the lack of paternal attention that fell on stocks, flour, a pig – but not you.