Michael Sarnoski’s “Pig”: Film Review

Over a lifetime, the average person eats 35 tons of food, or roughly 89 thousand total meals. Almost all of those meals are eaten without much thought or appreciation. The food is consumed nearly as fast as it took to make it.

Yet sometimes, you have a meal like Amir’s (Alex Wolff) parents did in Pig; a dinner that is crafted with such love that it is seared into one’s memory for a lifetime. Michael Sarnoski’s debut feature is a cinematic experience that follows this connection we have with food.

Much like our consumption habits, we live many days getting distracted in the artificial hubbub we create for ourselves. However, a meal, whether it’s something as complicated as deconstructed scallops or as simple as Mom’s french toast, can bring back memories and remind us of the importance of living in the moment.

When we are first introduced to Rob (Nicolas Cage), he appears to be one of those individuals; fully present living in his humble cabin in the Oregon woods. Yet, when his beloved truffle pig is stolen from him, Rob has to embark on an uncomfortable trek into a meaningless world he thought he had left behind. The underground restaurateur world Rob is forced to explore is one that values awards and acclaim over culinary passion. The primitive connection Rob has with food is lost in this environment.

While the world Rob revisits is soulless and depressing, Sarnoski’s debut is like the rustic mushroom tart featured in the film: layered and full of small delectable details. The audience is never given a full account of Rob’s legend in the culinary world. Instead we receive just enough to understand his stature and our minds fill in the rest of his story. In a way, the construction of Pig‘s narrative is much like a perfect meal. The actual food is divine, but it’s reflection and our memories that make the meal (or film) last a lifetime.

The Silver Lining

For someone who got his start as one half of The Naked Brothers Band, Alex Wolff has become of the finest young character actors working today. Wolff plays Amir, a first class entitled brat who works as Rob’s truffle broker. Despite Amir’s opulent suits and vehicles, Wolff imbues his character with a sense a longing for something money can’t buy; acceptance. It’s a role that could have easily been approached as stereotypical arrogant jerk, but Wolff is sincere in his performance as Amir and eventually becomes a character that the audience can’t help but to love.

Pig is available now in select theaters and today on your favorite Video on Demand platform (Amazon Video, Vudu, etc.).

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