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I’ll Explain Why the Movie Pig Will Change Your Life

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I’ll Explain Why the Movie Pig Will Change Your Life. Because it should. No. It will. If you haven’t watched it already – just stop. Get vaccinated – then go to your local theater and watch it. Because that is the only place you can watch it right now. Then, pay them the insignificant amount of money they ask you for – heck, give them the deed to your house, an inclusion on your will, hand them your yearly time share in Aspen. Heck give them your house. Just watch the movie Pig. And then, at the end… if you aren’t impacted, shellacked, crying, what have you… um. First, you are broken, and you need a counselor. But if you didn’t like it, contact the movie makers, and let them know I told you that they would give you your money back. I’m sure they will. Just watch the movie Pig. I’ve got five bucks down that it is the movie of the year here on THiNC. (which I pick so… yeah, I’m not going to lose this bet.) Any takers?

But I swear to you – if any of you hit play on this trailer – ………. just don’t. If you need convincing, just leave. Go watch something else. Might I recommend Frozen maybe? Just go.

When that trailer originally dropped… I watched 11 seconds. And bounced. I knew, just knew, it was going to be epic. Didn’t know if it was going to be about fairies. Or murderous trolls. Or maybe about a recluse that learned how to juggle pigs. I just had no idea. But I could sense it was going to be good – I just didn’t know it was going to be this good. Damn, this movie is brilliant. More importantly than not watching that trailer – I literally beg of you. Do not. Just don’t. Don’t keep reading. I want to talk EXCLUSIVELY to those of you that have already paid your $12.95 at an IMAX and watch Nicholas Cage go looking for his pig.

Pig Part One – Rustic Mushroom Tart

In the open ten minutes we learn novels worth of information about this recluse living in the woods named Rob (Nicholas Cage – Color Out of Space, Mandy). Like, for instance, he doesn’t care about cleanliness, his clothes, his hair or beard. He lives in a shack that can’t really be much of a shelter. And yet, there are two things that mean the world to him. His food. Watching him cook, and the pride he takes from it, is really something to behold. And secondly, his pig. Watching the two of them move through the forest together, respond to calls, and the understanding the passes between the two of them is pretty crazy.

We learn pretty early on that the recluse works with his pig to search out truffles. Which, apparently, are something of an expensive delicacy. In Oregon (which is where I was when I watched the film – what a wild world Oregon is) they are home to four different kinds of truffles (the black, the spring white, the winter white, and brown) and they can go for about $800 a pound for the Oregon Black, and have sold historically for over $100,000 a pound for the Oregon White. Which, explains why Amir (played by Alex Wolff, who you know from Hereditary, Thoroughbreds, and in the upcoming M. Night film, Old) arrives in a nice car and drives out into the middle of the Oregonian forests once a week to pick up these über valuable truffles that the Rob the Recluse and the pig find each week. But it all changes ten minutes in though, when some tweaked out truffle hunters steal recluse Rob’s pig and beat him senseless.

<Pause for a moment> So at this moment, we have our potential for Pig to become John Wick. Instead of killing John Wick’s dog, someone has stolen Rob’s pig. But, otherwise, we have the exact same movie kick off. But this isn’t John Wick, not even a little bit. The depths of this movie are profound. We know this in the first ten minutes of this movie actually. We can see it in the cinematography and the understated, low-key profound performance of Nicholas Cage. </Pause for a moment>

Recluse Rob gets moving with the only fairly self-interested Amir driving him around. The search starts in earnest though despite the ultra-long odds. He knows that anyone interested in a truffle hunting pig is going to be operating within the truffle hunting community. So the duo head over to the nearest truffle camp (is this really a thing? I mean? I know literally less than nothing about this world and I am constantly finding myself saying, “Oh, wait, WHAT?”) Regardless, Batman and Robin get a tip on a couple of tweakers, and soon they learn that it was sold to someone in Portland. And quickly, upon arrival, we start getting a sense that Recluse Rob actually used to be someone important. We don’t know what, but he was obviously in the food community. And that makes sense, because Portland’s food community is crazy. Like, one of the coolest I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve circled the globe numerous times. I actually started delving into the world of mixed drinks after my last visit to Portland a year ago, and I tasted my first Old Fashion. I mean, I was there this last weekend… you get the idea.

Eventually Recluse Rob decides he needs to get in touch with an old food contact of his named Edgar. But Edgar wants nothing to do with Rob. And all the while, Amir is actively attempting to not ripple the waters so his father won’t know he’s in town. So instead of breaking bones above ground and making a mess, Recluse Rob heads down into the subterranean part of the city where Edgar runs restaurant fights. Rob knows that his name will get him in on the fighting action. But wait, his name? Who is this Rob character? Regardless, Rob also knows that the fight will earn Edgar a pile of cash. And in turn, it will probably get Edgar to tell him what he knows about his missing pig. And sure enough, we learn Recluse Rob is actually Robin Feld, one of the city’s most prestigious chefs. And after getting the snot beat out of him for 60 seconds, Robin stands, and says, “I’m looking for my pig.”

Part 2 – Mom’s French Toast and Deconstructed Scallops

Amir lets Robin crash at his house, and in the morning, tells him a story about how his parents argued all the time, except for one specific night. It was a night when his parents went to Robin’s restaurant, and they were just floored by what he made for them. But later, apparently, Amir’s mother commits suicide. And Amir’s father is just too school for cool to put up with Amir’s inability to keep up. And Robin follows Amir’s story with one of his own… about how the end of the world is coming. The once every 2,000 year earthquake is on its way, which will be followed by the tsunami to end all tsunamis. And with that, all of us will be at the bottom of the ocean, including Amir’s father. There’s nothing they can do about it.

Robin lets Amir know that they need to get reservations at Fenway… and Amir thinks he can pull it off. But he doesn’t give any indication of just how hard it will be to pull off. And that is mainly because Amir cannot talk to his father and let him know that they need to get in. “I will work with him after I become more established.” “Your father sounds terrible.”

When they are seated at Fenway, Robin asks if he can speak to the chef. And when the chef, Derek, comes out, Rob lays some really heavy truth on Derek. “Didn’t you want to open an English pub? But now you are deconstructing local ingredients?” It’s pretty clear that Robin sees that Derek isn’t happy at all here. He’s just attempting to do what the customers want him to do. “Derek, why do you care about these people? They don’t care about you. None of them. They don’t even know you because you haven’t even shown them. EVERY day you will wake up, and there will be less of you. You live your life for them, and they don’t even see you. We don’t get a lot of things to really care about.” And with that, we learn that it was Amir’s father that stole Rob’s truffle hunting pig.

Amir literally cannot go with Rob to confront his father. It’s not in his physical makeup, or so Amir thinks anyway. So Robin steals a bicycle, and rides across town to find Darius (played by Adam Arkin, whom you know from the legendary show Get Shorty). And after their conversation, Darius tells Robin he will give him $25,000, but that he doesn’t want to see Robin ever again. But Robin doesn’t need the pig to find truffles. There’s the thing. But he does truly love the pig, and he wants his pig back. And with that Rob sends Amir out with his name, and a list of things to pick up.

Hrm. I predict that this movie is going to end with a lovely meal, and Darius head as the centerpiece. Because, Rob seems like he is about to boil over. GIVE ME MY PIG!!!!! or your head, either one will do.

Part 3 – A Bird, A Bottle and a Salted Baguette

We learn that Amir’s mother, she’s actually alive. She’s on a machine that is keeping her alive. Was it a failed suicide? What happened? But we can see that Amir is hardcore distraught about his mother’s condition, and he can’t even bring himself to go in and see her. Instead he heads off looking for the various things on Robin’s list. Doors that were once closed to Amir are now immediately opened as he mentions Robin’s name. And Robin goes back to his old restaurant, and finds that one of his students has turned it into a bakery. She had attempted to keep the magic of the place alive for when Robin came back, but in the end, she wasn’t a chef, she was a baker. We also learn that Robin’s love, Lori, passed away, and it was the loss that really caused him to close up shop there in Portland, and head out to the woods.

That evening, after they had all the right ingredients, Robin and Amir sneak into Amir’s father’s home and they make him dinner. When the father sits down, and eats, he doesn’t understand what is happening. But then after a second or third bite he realizes this isn’t any average meal, but rather the same exact meal that he and his wife had had that night, years ago. The night when they were happy together. “I remember every meal I ever cooked. I remember every person I ever served.” But, the tragedy of it all, is that the pig is already dead. The tweakers had apparently injured it or killed it. And with that Rob and Amir leave. Rob chooses to walk back to his shack, and Amir curls up in his car and cries himself to sleep. And there in the shack is the tape of Lori, the tape that he had tried to listen to earlier but couldn’t.

I’ll Explain Why the Movie Pig Will Change Your Life

The forests of Oregon are simply out of this world. As I said earlier, I was running around in the Northern California and Oregon forests this past weekend, and they are really unlike anything else. And to set this movie here creates this sort of other worldliness to the film that really resonated with me. It is possibly one of the only contexts that could counterbalance the unique brilliant otherness of Portland. You see, because the movie counterbalances a singular question – and that question is juxtaposed between the visuals of the city, and the visuals of the forest. So, contextually, and visually, we are presented with a question, and the question is simple, yet profound. I think the question is most succinctly characterized as, “Do you really love anything at all?” I think? Or maybe, “Do you really know what’s really important in your world?” And the fact that the question is so deeply profound as to not be 100% clear. The point being that you, literally the viewer you, the person that is reading this right now, YOU, need to think deeply about your life… to think deeply about what really matters in this world… to think clearly and succinctly about what you are paying deference to, and giving priority to. Because the odds are, you probably are giving oxygen to the wrong thing in your life.

Let’s start over.

The movie Pig works so well because it t-bones the standard Hollywood tropes… it walks out as a revenge flick, or some sort of John Wick spinoff, and that is the LAST thing that Pig is. This is actually the most Anti-John Wick movie ever created. (Okay… so that is hyperbole, but you totally get what I’m saying here.) Pig doesn’t have a vengeful bone in its body. But we don’t know that until the movie is completely over. And it is because we don’t know what this movie is until the movie is totally over that it works so well. Maybe some of you are still confused on what it is that you just watched… and maybe it would be more clear if we took a look at Robin’s life chronologically – I think that might help.

  1. Robin Feld aspires to be a world class chef
  2. He arduously works to create amazing dishes and blow customer’s minds
  3. Along the way he falls in love with Lori
  4. He continues to ascend the food world ladder
  5. But suddenly, out of the blue, Lori passes away
  6. Robin begins reconsidering what really matters in his life
  7. And he realizes that he’s been aspiring to all the wrong things
  8. He abandons the food scene suddenly… overnight…
  9. Robin flees to the woods, and eventually gets his pig
  10. After several years, his restaurant becomes a bakery

Now, seeing the flow of his life, it will become more clear that the only two things he has really loved in his life was Lori, and his pig. Yes, he enjoys good food. He enjoys making food. But the food world used him, and he never truly showed the people in the food world who he really was. Or what really mattered to him. So he has sloughed the entirety of the food world as he has realized the rabid climbing of the food ladder was pointless.

Think about your life. I mean, I don’t know you. Or what matters to you. But for all of us, this is an extremely natural progression. 1-6 anyway. Usually what happens though is that you fight your way to the middle of the pack, constantly hoping to reach the top. That you will really attain what you were looking for by being the best. Or something. Or, even if you do become the best, or one of the best, you will most likely just keep up the appearances. Here though we watch as Robin realizes just how much of a sham it all is and steps out. He can afford to own a house and do nothing in it. But he has foregone the chasing of material things as well. He has kept his spices, he still cooks well, but he’s given everything else up. Why? Because it doesn’t matter. Chasing the new iPhone? The new promotion? Chasing that next bigger house? It all just doesn’t matter.

Pig – But That Isn’t All…

That previous thread is important, but it is actually secondary to one other thread happening in this movie. We are given the vaunted legend that “got it right,” and understood what really mattered, in the character of Robin Feld. But we can see ourselves most in Amir. Amir, literally, is us. And we watch as Amir, abandoned by his own “successful” father, tries to carve his own way in the world. He has found this clever niche for himself in the underground (hah!) world of truffles. He has cultivated this transactional relationship with “Rob” and has mined it for cash and influence. How do we know that? Well, we know that because Amir is so hard up for affection and approval from his father, who is influential in the food scene, that Amir tells his father that he has “befriended” Robin Feld. We know this because this is how the pig is stolen in the first place.

So, Amir, desperate for love from his father, betrayed one of the only potential real things in his life, in order to get his father to accept him. This is us. We do this all the time. Not knowing what is really important is what I do best in my life. Worse, I will readily sell out to a job that would fire me after 15 years of dedication to the work without even thinking twice about it. Why do I do that? Because I have placed the wrong priority on my job… thinking it more important than it really is. Better yet, I have placed a lower priority on my children, who actively love me and appreciate me without question or reservation. How does that make any sense? Now, let’s look at Amir’s life chronologically and see what we can see. Maybe that will help us spot the flaws?

  1. Amir Rath’s parents fight all the time – and his childhood is a mess
  2. Amir’s parents have a delightful dinner at Robin Feld’s restaurant
  3. Amir’s mother attempts to commit suicide but survives
  4. Darius Rath dives even more into his work, shunning his son
  5. Amir, in an attempt to make his father proud of him, begins buying and selling truffles
  6. Meets Robin Feld and is giddy at his luck
  7. Amir tells his father about his new “friend” – but his father doesn’t care
  8. Darius realizes Robin’s pig is valuable – hires two people to steal it
  9. Amir really gets to know Robin, and what really matters in life
  10. Amir realizes that it was his own flaws that took from Robin the only thing that mattered

Quick pause, can we talk about these names a second? Robin Feld. And Darius Rath? I mean, come on. Actually, I’m just going to point it out. Not going to talk about it. Sometimes, even for me, a thing can be too obvious.

So, seeing Amir’s chronological path, it’s naturally obvious why Amir curls up in a ball in his car, and cries at the end. Right? Robin, one of the things that is actually meaning something to him, has been betrayed by the very thing he is telling him doesn’t matter. His father. Sure, a father could matter to him. Yes, it would be great if it did, to have a father be a real loved one. But he isn’t. We can all see that. But Amir cannot see that. He is pointlessly chasing this man’s love and affection, to the point that he is betraying something else that really does hold value and meaning. Robin’s friendship.

Pig Ending Explained

Now, if you got this far, and you still need the ending explained, I have nothing for you. But, if you just did a search on “HOLY CRAP PIG MOVIE ENDING WTF?!?” and you ended up here – and you flipped to the bottom of the page, hoping to have a bullet point or two explaining it concisely, I get it. Let’s see if we can help these people out a bit. Shall we?

As the movie ends, Robin walks back to his shack, and listens to the tape of Lori singing he couldn’t listen to before. Robin has realized, again, that it is the key things, the things we love, that really matter. Even loved ones who have passed away. And so he is able to find the strength to listen to the tape. Amir, similarly, realizes he has always been chasing the wrong things (his father’s approval and acceptance – which will never come, and even it did, it doesn’t matter) and has only betrayed the one real thing happening in his life… which is his friendship with Robin. Worse, his mother’s attempted suicide should have not been shoved aside like his father did, and he should have embraced the reality of that loss. But, he betrayed that loss as well as he attempted to follow his father’s horrible lead.

The movie led viewers to believe this would be a revenge flick. A movie about someone losing something valuable and his path to exacting justice. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This movie is ACTUALLY about someone who has learned what really matters in this life, losing one of those things that really matters. And this individual also happens to know that exacting justice from Darius… killing him… torturing him… is just one more thing that doesn’t matter. So why chase it? It won’t do anything positive to bring back his friend. It will add no positive benefit. And better yet, it’s clear that Robin understands that Darius doesn’t understand what really matters, so why even bother?

Edited by: CY

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6 Comments

  • I loved this film because of exactly what you explained. It wasn’t a revenge flick at all. I mean how many people would cook a beautiful meal for a person who did something horrific to them? Not many I know. Which tells us something about Rob’s character. I also hated Amir in the beginning but as we learned about his life throughout the film, I softened on him. He wanted his father to see him. Rob couldn’t come to terms with Lori’s passing but at the end he was able to start by listening to the tape. It was a very satisfying ending despite the lack of revenge. Everyone should watch it!

  • I definitely should have talked, at least a little bit, about the concept of grace in the face of a wrong. Grace! This entire movie is 100% about grace. Sort of. hahaha.

  • The success of John Wick made this movie.

  • Why do you say so? Because it’s the inverse? The counterpoint?

  • This movie is the antithesis of a revenge flick so I don’t see how that’s true.

  • Well I watched Pig and your explanation was perfect. I was surprised that I wasn’t as moved by it. Perhaps because the outcome of the sweet Pig was not visually seen. Thank goodness! But I do understand the “it doesn’t matter” theory, which I finally figured out on a personal level years ago. I must admit though, my haha moment about this subject came from the film “Meatballs” with Bill Murray. His it doesn’t matter speech is a pure classic and made me realize that nothing really matters!

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