Pig

Pig ★★★★

An existentialist deconstruction of John Wick, an anti-revenge movie that plays into our expectations of the genre to subvert them, a deeply unsatisfying movie in conventional terms that is rewarding in its profoundly authentic humanism. There are certain things we've been conditioned to expect, and when a movie's premise is that Nicolas Cage's pig gets stolen and he goes on a quest to retrieve it, a lot of those expectations are triggered. Debut director Michael Sarnoski plays into our anticipation for violence by methodically defying it, consistently setting up familiar situations only to subvert them. There is no catharsis, no release of tension, no avengement, no resolution. Nicolas Cage's Robin lives in a constant state of stoic dejectedness in a world where releasing fury and unleashing vengeance are futile, where the only violence inflicted is against him. Kicked to the dirt, punched when he's down.

Inhabited and moving from start to finish, Cage is entitled to a few anthological monologues, generally tinged with an apocalyptic pessimism about the decay of art in a culture where everything is to be bought and sold. Value is determined by subjective measures, so is anything actually valuable in a system in which values are homogenized into objectivity by the controlling powers?

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