Bolstered by a terrific Nic Cage performance, Pig is one of the year’s most pleasant surprises. This isn’t the John Wick knock-off that its premise would have you believe; it’s a patient, moving examination of what we really care about in our short time here on earth. Death is a tsunami simply waiting to arrive on our doorstep, and we can either live our lives before then as a used car salesman, or we can change the lives of others by sharing our passions. The suits we wear, the music we listen to, the meals we cook — all of these are choices we make, and it’s up to us whether we make them to appease others or whether we make them to reward ourselves.
Pig also explores the collateral damage for those left in the wake of this tsunami. This is where Cage comes in, offering a subdued performance that carries the heavy burden of loss in every scene. As much as I adore his many over-the-top performances, he is truly next-level here, capable of conveying both the joy and pain that comes with something as simple as a fleeting memory. His stripped-down approach is applied to the story at large, with the movie’s finale opting for an otherwise anticlimactic moment that hits with the emotional weight of a truck. Admittedly, the movie’s slow pace sometimes overshadows the journey toward this finale, with certain scenes feeling like random monologues from an earlier draft of the script. Yet by the time the credits roll, the emotional catharsis justifies all that came before it, ultimately cementing the movie as one of the year’s best.