I’m not sure what kind of movies turn your crank, but personally, I absolutely am transfixed when I find a movie that is confusing, or forces me to work the movie out. Movies with inside out ideas, movies that start you off completely flat footed and then reveal what is going on slowly over the course of the movie? Yeah, that’s my thing. Pig most definitely is that sort of a movie. The really great thing about this little hobbyist website of mine is that while at first I brought you the movies, now, you guys are the ones bringing tons of movies for us all to watch and argue about. And if you’d like to bring a movie to our attention, that I haven’t already written about, (pro tip: use the search) then click on the red tab at the bottom of this screen and tell us about your movie. Today’s movie was brought to us by ARM… thanks amigo (amiga?).
Now, please know, that I am not a movie reviewer. Sure, I give movies scores. But I prefer to talk about all the spoilery ins and outs contained in the movie, and then discuss the details. At the end of all my reviews I list out a couple of movies similar to the one in question. And if you’d like other movies in this oeuvre would be Triangle, Enter Nowhere, Infinity Chamber, Synchronicity, and the like.
But for now, if you haven’t seen this clever little movie Pig, you need to go. But you know what? You can watch it now on Amazon Prime. So there you have it – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Pig Movie Deep Dive Walkthrough
Now, lets walk through the movie details so that we are all on the same page… and then, when finished with that, we can talk through the ending and clean up any loose ends. The movie opens with a man, talking into a camera and saying, “I guess if I’m ever watching this, it means it didn’t work.” And then jump cut to the same man, but now, he’s out in the desert, alone and soon to die of exposure if he isn’t found.
The man is found, and is discovered by a woman living near the desert. Her name is Isabel. And she helps him recover, and nurses him back to health. Evidently the man without a name is maybe Manny Elder(?) based on the slip of paper found in his pocket. And when Isabel finds a Manny in LA, they head into the city to find him. But when nameless man reveals to Isobel that he took her gun to protect himself, he blacks out and the version resets.
This is when we first get a glimpse that we are in some sort of looping continuum. And nameless man is bounced back out into the desert. But a few minutes later, as darkness is descending, a mountain lion cuts short this version.
This time, nameless guy actually makes it to a hotel manager in Los Angeles. CONGRATULATIONS NAMELESS GUY!! And apparently, nameless guy’s name isn’t Manny Elder, but rather the apartment manager’s name is Manny. Phew, we finally figured something out in this stupid movie! hahaha. So yeah, Manny, happens to have been wondering where our nameless man has been. So Manny takes him to his room, where we find out that our poor fellow-sans-name is actually someone named Justin Reeves. Something of a low rent partier. A school substitute teacher. At least, that is what we are being told right now anyway.
A few minutes later, after Justin leaves the apartment complex, he happens upon a chance encounter. He sees a German woman named Anouk who informs him that his “real” name is actually Lukas Ernst. That she hadn’t seen him in over eight years. But back in the day, they used to party together. She takes him to a small social gathering, where he chats with a doctor that informs him that dissociative disorders are actually quite rare.
When Anouk and Lukas/Justin leave the party, they go looking for Isabel. But she isn’t at the hotel. He’s told though that he should wait for her to return. And while he sleeps, he dreams of being abducted, hauled off. A newspaper clipping details a story about a deadly drunk driving accident killing a child. Voice overs are telling him that “Any last vestiges of pain that you have will be erased.”
Our confused desert wanderer eventually collapses, and is picked up by men in boots, who then carry him into the path of Isobel’s car. Jump cut to, Manny the hotel manager, who begins that same surprised conversation about where Justin (or whomever) has been. This time though, Justin asks if maybe he has a wife and a child? When he sees a crusader emblem on a suncatcher it forces him to remember his son, who also wore a t-shirt with a crusader on the front.
Completely unhinged as a result, Justin goes rummaging through Manny’s things and eventually finds some sort of drive with the names, Carlos/Justin/Elliot on it. And when he leaves the apartment complex, it is a different building than the last one. I even screenscraped them both and included them above, just to make sure I wasn’t going insane. When Justin leaves the apartment, he heads to the school that he had scribbled in his journal – George Washington Elementary. There, he meets Johnny, a computer teacher who recognizes him, and yet is very suspicious. And so, Justin steals a laptop, and runs for it. Later, he sees that there are three movie files. One of them being of himself:
“Let me confirm what you’ve already been told, I am in an experiment. The experiment involves my memory. The details of this study were explained to me, and I fully understood and approved.” Different person, “Explain the conditions by which you were imprisoned.” Justin, “I was a drunk, I was a pigheaded, stupid drunk. It was the night of my 30th birthday. I went out to celebrate with my wife Carla, and my son, Max. Max was 3 years old. I proceeded to get really drunk in front of them. They didn’t want me to drive, but I insisted on driving because I had something to prove……. Lost control, and lost my family. I was sentenced to 40 months of vehicular manslaughter.”
As 1.5 ends, Justin goes to a payphone, and calls Isobel and asks how he can leave the experiment?
The Board of the Company
I’m not 100% certain, but I believe that the company’s name is HFB Nanomechanics? Did anyone catch the name? Regardless, we know that the group that is conducting these experiments is called the Nanomedicine Group. We see that Manny is actually not the apartment manager, but rather, he is the Ray Boyden, the director of this group doing the testing. We also learn that Lukas is in the third year of a 20-year contract studying these new drugs. 3 of 20?!?
We also learn during this Board debrief that each of the previous experiments ended due to contamination’s of various sorts. Firearm violations. Mountain lion “violations.” Chance meeting “violations.” As well as production and design oversights that they have now “mitigated.” Another major problem of the experiments are these, so called, phantom emotions. Their hope is that Aura 4.3 will disrupt these extreme emotional responses. The hope is that they will eventually negate this desire of his to learn his true identity.
What Did We Just Watch?
I think we sort of figured out the “WHAT” of Pig in our walkthrough, but not much else. We know that a man, who ended up killing his wife and son while driving drunk, volunteered for a medical experiment. The medical experiment for this man was to last for 20 years, of which, he was three years into his assignment. Each phase of the medical experiment was designed to test a different aspect of the drugs and the treatment plan. But due to different test failures, they were each abandoned.
It would seem that pretty much everyone that the nameless man meets is working for the company. The most obvious example is Manny – who we see debriefing the Board of the company. But we also know that Isobel is also an employee, or at the very least a contractor. Why? Well, because she is replaced in the later tests with a different woman. Same house. Same Jeep. Different actress. So the company is trying to control as much of the experiment as possible, while still giving the illusion of freedom to the test subjects. We also know that there were probably three test subjects that are currently running the experiments. Carlos, Elliot, and Justin… these were the three names on the drive that Justin found in “Manny’s” office. We don’t know their stories, but we can surmise that they are similar to Justin’s. Horrible mistake, followed by prison sentence, followed by years of servitude to this medical company.
A Deeper Dive into the Movie Pig
But a deeper dive into the movie of Pig takes into more uncomfortable territories. Maybe you didn’t accidentally kill your wife and child while driving drunk. And maybe you weren’t sentenced to years in prison. You have though, done a number of dumb things in your life that you’d probably prefer to forget. Right? It brings us back to the concept of sin and the need for forgiveness. Judgement. The person you did that thing to? You probably want nothing more than to know that they’ve forgiven you. No? Or to know that the blight had somehow been wiped clean. That is all this biomedical company is investigating – a dosage level and drug variety that will bring about the spiritual cleansing of our souls.
You think I’m over spiritualizing this? Hahahah. Suffice it to say, that we all have this God-shaped hole in our chests that is desperately crying out to be filled. Look at the way Justin gives up all right to his memories, and basically his life, in order to make the pain of his mortal mistake go away. Why? Because we want nothing more than to make the pain of this separation to go away.
Over on Debate.org – there is a debate that’s been raging about whether it is better to be happy and ignorant than to be knowledgeable and feel “cursed.” Seems obvious to me that the question is rigged, the definition of happiness that most people utilize is all wrong. But regardless, the current score is that 54% say yes. Think about that for a second. 54% of the participants of this thoroughly non-scientific study are saying, I would rather live an unexamined life. I would rather give up knowledge than to be pained by said knowledge. Just mind blowing to me.
In the 1700’s, Voltaire wrote a story about The Good Brahmin that investigated this very question – does happiness result from ignorance or from knowledge. Long story short, a rich philosopher, who had anything money could buy was troubled. His studies of history, and of man, has caused him to know how little he already knew. It also made him realize how much pain there was in the world. But next door, there was a poor old woman (the Brahmin) who was content in every way (she was also deeply religious, as Voltaire saw all religions as ignorant), but she was also completely ignorant.
So, Voltaire’s Brahmin, and these people voting for ignorance, they are saying, I’d rather not know the plight of those with disease as it infringes on my happiness. I would rather not know about the underhanded dealings of my government because it will shatter my coddled existence. I would rather forget about that time I drove while drunk, and ended up killing my wife and child. That is pain I don’t want to remember. This idea of a biomedical research company erasing memories for trauma patients? Not too far off in the distant future. It might not be an exact memory strike, like in Spotless Mind. But rather a complete wipe like here in Pig. But I’m sure the technology is coming. And to know that we, as a culture, would prefer ignorance to knowledge, scares me for our future.
The crux of this conversation revolves around this idea of happiness and this belief that the pursuit of happiness is what life is for. Let me drop some truth on you, we were not made for the pursuit of happiness. Which, I know that from a democratic and American standpoint, is the closest form of heresy there is, especially since the Constitution protects our pursuit of happiness. But I’ve digressed well beyond the average attention span. Congratulations for actually making it this far.
Final Thoughts on the Movie Pig
The movie actually is simply pointing out the logical fallacy in our ideals around ignorance and bliss. It is actually posing the question to us, the viewer, to decide on our own. If our actions, and our accidents, became so egregious, would it ever be worth it to wipe our memories? And it was Justin’s position, that no, it never is. Justin never was blissful at all, was he? He suffered in his lost identity. He fought against the ignorance of his situation. Even when he began to realize it might be a gift to be ignorant, he continued to fight through the stacked deck against him.
But what does that mean for us today? I could easily point out that in order to be in the top 1% of the global income earners, all you would need to make each year is somewhere around $32,000 a year. And we rail against the 1%? I could easily point out that somewhere around 165,000 people will die today. We could consider the ephemeralness of life. Right? But that would be painful to consider. And yet, we are better off having considered these truths, as opposed to ignorantly ignoring them. I can live my life knowing each day is valuable. I can live considering others and their plight being just as important as my own. No? And all of this from an “entertaining” movie? I’m shocked!
Edited by, CY