Michael Sarnoski’s Pig is a surprising triumph. The film is a visual and emotional powerhouse. It features some of the most beautiful cinematography of any film this year. Anchored by a masterful performance from Nicholas Cage, Pigdives into the journey of lost love. By the end of the film, you feel the journey’s emotional toll on the characters, but you also get a sense of healing. These strengths deliver an excellent film that sucks you into the story from the first to the last frame.
A Cinematic Canvas
Pig features some of the best visual filmmaking of 2021. From start to finish, every shot feels intentionally planned. The color palette and shot selection create deep, rich visuals that draw your attention. Aside from being visually pleasing, the cinematography also comments on the film’s broader themes. You often identify with the characters’ solitude, mainly Rob (Nicolas Cage), because of his visual framing. The camera usually sits close to his face to emphasize his pain and loneliness or pulls back to highlight his physical isolation in the wilderness or indoors. Every shot tells a story.
A True Performance
Nicolas Cage delivers a stunning performance and is a significant contributor to the film’s success. To put it accurately, he gives one of the more authentic performances of his career. You believe every ounce of pain and melancholy that comes across his face. He delivers dialogue with weight and subtlety that feels true to his character. While subtle, his performance also has a complexity that you feel near the end of the film. It conjures up a complex set of emotions and leaves you both destroyed and entirely whole. It is truly one of his best performances.
A Journey of Love and Loss
The most intriguing element of Pig is its exploration of love and loss. The film’s title is not a play on words and features a live pig. The pig is the linchpin that unravels the deep emotional pain of the film’s main character. While Rob has a tangible connection with his pig, it provides a mechanism for exploring his grief. The pig is a constant reminder of the fragility of loved ones lost. It’s not all pain and suffering, though. The film maintains a continuous thread of hope and healing, which cuts through by the end. You feel found after being lost.
Pig is the stuff of great cinema. It takes you on an emotional journey that dares to break you down and build you up stronger than ever before.