Pig is an American thriller drama film released this year that Michael Sarnoski co-wrote and directed as his directorial debut. It stars Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, and Adam Arkin and tells the story of a truffle forager whose truffle-finding pig goes missing. Neon released it in theatres in the United States on July 16, 2021. Critics lauded the film’s directing and themes, as well as Cage’s performance, which many considered to be among the greatest of his career and a massive comeback which showcased his brilliant acting abilities. There are many underlying themes in the movie that are explored during Cage’s search for his pig. This article will break down those themes and explain the ending that is brilliantly put together by the filmmakers.
Plot Synopsis 800
Robin Feld, better known as ‘Rob’, played by Nicolas Cage is a truffle hunter who lives in the Oregon forest with his beloved Pig. Rob’s pet who is also a conspicuous companion to his loneliness, assists him in his search for buried truffles in the woods. In exchange for money and other necessities, he trades the culinary delicacy to Amir, who is played by Alex Wolff, a wealthy young man from the city. Rob lives quietly in the woods until pet Pig is kidnapped by a couple. Rob sets off on a trip to recover his Pig and return to his small hut in the woods as quickly as possible, with the help of Amir. The clues, on the other hand, lead him back to Portland, his hometown, and the areas he had long left behind.
He is forced to go back to Portland where was once a renowned chef, 15 years ago and face the people he left behind, good or bad. In his quest to track down his pig, he first runs into a man named Edgar who organizes fights among the chefs in Portland. When he refuses to help Rob, Rob goes to the location where the fights usually happened and finds that it is still there. He enters himself in a fight and after taking a severe beating, Edgar finally gives him a lead.
Amir serves himself and Rob breakfast the next morning and expresses his appreciation for Rob as a chef because he finally realises that Rob was none other than the renowned chef, Robin Feld. Amir tells him that his parents’ marriage was unpleasant, but Amir recalls his parents being at their happiest following a supper at Rob’s restaurant many years ago, before his mother killed herself. Rob then asks Amir to make reservations for them at Eurydice, a hip contemporary restaurant, following the lead that Edgar had given them the night before. Amir hesitates and tells him that the restaurant is his father, Darius’ area and going there would be like stepping on his toes but he gives in, in the end.
While Amir goes to see an acquaintance to set up the reservation, Rob pays a visit to the house where he and his wife Laurie used to live before Lori’s death forced Rob to withdraw from society. There, he meets a little boy in the backyard and asks him about a persimmon tree that used to be there and plays with a little instrument. Rob sees that time hasn’t waited for him and things have changed. Time and tide wait for no one, as the saying goes.
At the restaurant, Rob calls for the chef and they meet with the restaurant’s head chef, Derrick who was a former pasta chef at Rob’s restaurant and was fired after 2 months because he used to overcook the pasta. Rob criticises Derrick for creating a contemporary restaurant rather than the pub he always wanted to run, although he does so sympathetically and stirs him emotionally. Derrick, emasculated, admits that Amir’s affluent father, Darius, was responsible for the theft of his pig, which he learned about after Amir informed him of its existence in passing.
On hearing that in a way, Amir was responsible for the theft of his pig, he has an outburst and starts slamming Amir’s car which was parked outside the restaurant. Before confronting Darius at his home, Rob violently cancels his partnership regarding truffles with Amir. When he goes to meet Darius, he is offered $25,000 in exchange for the pig and Rob realises that talking to a man like him will not yield any results. The two men have something in common, both have lost their wives. Amir goes to Darius’ residence to pick up Rob after visiting his mother, who is alive but is actually in a coma, which means that her suicide attempt that Amir had confided to Rob about had failed and we see that she has been kept on life support by Darius.
Rob then explains to Amir that he doesn’t actually need his pig to find truffles, he can find them on his own by looking at the trees whose locations indicate where the truffles are. He says that he simply enjoys and company of the pig and loves her. He then asks Amir to assist him in obtaining his pig in a unique manner. His plan is to cook the same meal for Darius that he and his wife had eaten in his restaurant all those years ago and were happy for once. He sends Amir to get all of the ingredients while he himself goes to get a loaf of bread from his former baker. Amir gathers the unique ingredients requested by Rob, including a bottle of wine from Rob and Lori’s personal collection, which is kept at Lori’s tomb.
Rob and Amir then sneak back into Darius’s house and make and serve the same dinner for the three of them in the kitchen. The food makes Darius tear up, and he returns to his office. Rob follows him to ask him about his pig and overwhelmed by emotion, Darius finally admits that the junkies he hired to transport it mismanaged it, killing the pig. Rob is distraught and inconsolable. Amir and Rob go to a diner where they talk and Rob comes to terms with his grief. A repentant Amir then drives Rob back to the Skyline tavern, where he picked him up earlier.
Despite what Amir had done, Rob decides to continue working with him. Rob returns to his cabin and plays a tape Lori made for him for his birthday, in which she sings “I’m on Fire” to him and the movie comes to an end.
The main themes that surround this movie are those of loss, grief, denial and finally, acceptance. The particular position of loss embodies the film’s central concept. When Rob’s wife, Laurie, died, a bereaved Rob had left the city and moved to the Oregon woods. He gave Helen his restaurant before he left, and she turned it into a bakery.
Rob took to the woods to get away from his wife’s death. We see him attempt to play a tape recorded by Laurie for him in the beginning, but he couldn’t listen to her voice. Rob’s denial indicates that he hasn’t yet acknowledged his sense of loss. He found a way out of mourning, in his Pig, without really acknowledging the death of his wife. Rob channeled his emotional journey through touching the animal and constantly being in her company, becoming emotionally engaged to the entire truffle hunting setup. To replace the emptiness created by his wife’s death, he became attached to the pig. This dependence on his pig is what caused the intense emotional reaction that he had, first when he knew that it had been taken and he wanted to get her back and then later, when he learned that she had died.
Rob also tells Amir that the Pig wasn’t very helpful at all when it came to truffle hunting. Instead, the trees showed him where the truffles were. He simply loved the pig. The whole quest for the pig started because of fear. Rob adored the Pig and didn’t want to go through the pain of losing someone again. He was terrified of being engulfed by the sad nothingness, once again.
We also see a parallel being run between him and Amir. Amir and Darius, who lost their mother and wife, respectively (she didn’t die but was on the edge of dying), shared a similar horror. Darius’ emotional breakdown was spurred by Rob’s cooking, which reminded him of his wife. The three protagonists encountered similar melancholia at the climax scene which was an intense sense of loss.
There is a lot of interplay of emotions which are also showcased in the interaction between Rob and Helen when he goes back to his old restaurant and sees that things have changed. He realizes that with time, people have accepted things and moved on and it seems like only he is stuck in the rut.
Ending Explained 600
In the closing scenes of the movie, Darius finally reveals that the poachers were overly violent with the animal. As a result, the Pig died during the transfer. Because the search for the stolen Pig had come to a screeching halt, Rob begged Amir to drive him back to his hermit like home.
Rob shares his fear with Amir in the diner on the way back. He says “In my head, she’d still be alive if I hadn’t come seeking for her.” Rob’s defence mechanism against sadness was highlighted by his words, and we realise through the movie that he preferred to live in denial rather than face the truth. But things were different this time and this is where the parallel with Amit comes into play. Even though his mother was on the ventilator, Amir had accepted her death with maturity. He was more grounded in reality than Rob as a person and was better able to deal with loss. As a result, as Rob was looking for another way to escape his sense of loss, Amir persuaded Rob to face the painful fact.
Rob then agrees to meet Amir with a new delivery of Truffles on Thursday as Amir drops him off near his home. We watch as Rob finally plays Laurie’s recorded tape, a birthday greeting from her, when he arrives at his wood cabin. As the record plays and Laurie’s singing floods our ears, we understand the symbolism of the movie. The ending symbolises Robin Feld’s acceptance of his life’s grief and, as a result, his transformation into a better being.
Pig is thus a story about a man and his pig, but it’s also about the process of creating a life, one sound at a time, as you go along and encounter losses and obstacles. You might feel wise one minute and then discover you’re hopelessly lost the next. That’s your cue to listen for and pursue a sound you’ve never heard before. And if that means selling one or two castles, then be it. No matter how deep the loss is, we must face our demons and accept them and keep moving and making the best out of life is what we take away from Cage’s mesmerizing acting. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t shed a couple of tears while watching the movie because all of us resonate with loss and grief in some way or the other and this movie really hits home.
It is absolutely a must-watch, both in terms of the acting and the story. The screenplay, cinematography and soundtrack are all on point and create an immersive experience for you to sit back and feel what the movie and the characters want you to feel. The ending symbolises hope and above all, acceptance.