I've been sitting on this score for a while. I didn't 100% know if I wanted to give this film my perfect grade because I didn't know if it actually was perfect to me. The pacing sometimes hiccups and there were times I kind of lost track of what was happening... at least, in the moment. By the time Pig ended, though, I realized just how much this film affected me and how deeply engaging and thought-provoking it was when taken as a whole. All of the little pieces in this film started to fit together for me, all of the exchanges of dialogue and character moments started to feel completely necessary, and there isn't one thing I would have changed about this film. Pig is the best film I've seen in theaters in a long time, no questions asked.
For starters, I love concepts that sound like they could be terrible on paper but become so much more with how the film is made and how the script is written. This is absolutely one of those projects and Michael Sarnoski has given us one heck of a directorial debut with this film. With his script and direction, he shows a deftness for refusing to go over the top with this scenario despite what we might expect from how the film is set up. The plot consistently gives Sarnoski chances to write the cliche story element, the easy way out, the familiar character arcs, and he never writes those elements.
The film always finds a way to feel groundingly authentic right up until the end, and throughout its runtime, it consistently pounds the viewer with twangs of fear and loneliness that build and build until they are forced to face the crushing reality of the situation. I'm trying to describe this all in a way that doesn't give anything away because this is a film that deserves to be experienced knowing as little as possible about it. I did that for myself. The only things I knew about this film were that it starred Nicholas Cage and a pig. I wasn't even 100% certain what action spun the plot in motion. That was absolutely a fantastic choice for me because going into this movie blind made me appreciate it so much more as the story kept going.
What I do feel comfortable saying is that Nicholas Cage absolutely transforms in this film. He is a very quiet figure, but always blunt when he needs to be, and that energy is delivered perfectly through what will probably be considered his best performance in years. And wow, another shocker, that is THE Alex Wolff known for his time in THE FREAKING NAKED BROTHERS BAND co-starring alongside him, and wouldn't you know it, he's actually really damn good. Who would have seen that coming? His character gets a lot of time to flesh out as the film progresses, and the revelations that come from his character are really cool to see play out.
Other than that, though... I feel bad that I've already said this much about the film. I genuinely am trying to avoid giving as much away from this film as possible, I just think people should know that it is a seething look into loneliness and the things that people feel uncomfortable talking about. There's something about it that's just been lingering in my mind since I saw it, and I can't ignore it. I didn't think I was going to give it a perfect score, even though I had pretty good feelings about it going in, but I can't help it. Something about Pig has stuck in my head and my heart and created what is easily my favorite film of 2021 so far (although, admittedly, A Quiet Place Part II is oh, so tantalizingly close, too). Just go see it. It's a weird movie, but if you appreciate quiet and slow filmmaking, you're going to love it.
Letter Grade: A+