Wednesday, September 22, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 29
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
A QUIET PLACE PART II
ANOTHER ROUND
BINGEABLE: 100 FOOT WAVE (2021-)
BINGEABLE: BARRY (2018-)
BINGEABLE: CLICKBAIT
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG (2016-2019)
BINGEABLE: SWEET TOOTH
BINGEABLE: THE WHITE LOTUS
BINGEABLE: TITANS (2018-)
BLACK WIDOW
BLAST FROM THE PAST: CARRIE (1976)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX (1999)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART (1990)
BOSS LEVEL
CANDYMAN
CRY MACHO
GUILTY PLEASURE: BACHELOR IN PARADISE (2014-)
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
GUILTY PLEASURES: GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE
GUILTY PLEASURES: JOLT
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM (1996)
I CARE A LOT
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
IRRESISTIBLE
LIMBO
MISHA AND THE WOLVES (2021)
NEW FLICKS: BLOOD RED SKY
NEW FLICKS: CODA
NEW FLICKS: COPSHOP
NEW FLICKS: CRUELLA
NEW FLICKS: REMINISCENCE
NEW FLICKS: SWEET GIRL
NEW FLICKS: THE SUICIDE SQUAD
NEW FLICKS: VAL (2021)
NINE DAYS
NO SUDDEN MOVE
PIG
ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN (2021)
SOUL
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM (2019)
THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER (2020)
THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS
THE NEW MUTANTS
THE PAPER TIGERS
THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN
THE SUNLIT NIGHT
TV REVIEW: A WILDERNESS OF ERROR (2020)
TV REVIEW: BATES MOTEL
TV REVIEW: DEFENDING JACOB
TV REVIEW: EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES (2021)
TV REVIEW: HELL ON WHEELS (2011-2016)
TV REVIEW: HOMECOMING
TV REVIEW: HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON
TV REVIEW: I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE
TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU
TV REVIEW: LENOX HILL
TV REVIEW: LITTLE AMERICA
TV REVIEW: MARE OF EASTTOWN
TV REVIEW: MRS. AMERICA
TV REVIEW: ONE MISSISSIPPI
TV REVIEW: PAINTING WITH JOHN (2021)
TV REVIEW: RAMY
TV REVIEW: RUN
TV REVIEW: SPACE FORCE
TV REVIEW: TABOO
TV REVIEW: TED LASSO (2020-)
TV REVIEW: THE BOYS
TV REVIEW: THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD
TV REVIEW: THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT
TV REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM
TV REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL
TV REVIEW: THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL (2020)
TV REVIEW: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
TV REVIEW: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
TV REVIEW: THE VOW
TV REVIEW: TREADSTONE (2019)
TV REVIEW: UNDONE
TV REVIEW: WANDAVISION
TV REVIEW: WARRIOR
TV REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TV REVIEW: ZEROZEROZERO
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS (2005)
UNDERRATED: THE KINGDOM (2007)

‘Pig’ examines the effects of loss

PIG

PHOTO BY , COURTESY OF AI-FILM AND BLACKBOX ENTERTAINMENT

PIG


Where is it playing?: The Palm Theatre in SLO

What's it rated?: R

What's it worth?: $Full price (Glen Starkey)

What's it worth?: $Full price (Anna Starkey)

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Co-writer Michael Sarnoski directs this dramatic thriller about Rob (Nicholas Cage), a truffle hunter living a solitary existence in the Oregon wilderness, whose beloved foraging pig is kidnapped, forcing him to return to his past in Portland in search for her. (92 min.)

Glen: I think it’s pretty common when someone experiences a profound sense of loss to reevaluate one’s priorities. Things you might have thought were important suddenly seem trivial. Pig is an elegiac, multilayered rumination on loss and what it does to people. Rob lives a hermit-like existence. His only connection to the outside world is Amir (Alex Wolff), a young man who supplies some of Portland’s upscale restaurants with truffles—the pungent, hard to find underground fungus, certain varieties of which sell for as much as $1,500 per pound. He arrives every Thursday to Rob’s remote forest cabin to trade him essentials such as batteries, flour, and other cooking supplies. One evening after Amir’s most recent visit, two people—Bree (Julia Brey) and Scratch (Elijah Ungvary)—break into Rob’s cabin, assault him, and steal his pig. What follows is a mystery story as Rob, with Amir’s help, works to find who stole his pig. It brings Rob back into the scene he left, including the dark underbelly of the restaurant world. As the tale unfolds, we discover more about Rob’s past in this foodie world, the loss that drove him out of the scene and into his solitary existence, and most importantly, what kind of a man he is and the lengths to which he’ll go to recover his pig.

Anna: What also unfolds is a deeper look into who Rob is and who he was in the Portland food scene. While he may at first be unrecognizable, once people in the business know who they’re dealing with, they’re in awe. One scene that was particularly compelling is when Amir gets them a table at a very pretentious, upscale restaurant. When served two deconstructed scallops under a dome of smoke and over a huckleberry foam, he asks to speak to the chef (David Knell), who it turns out actually worked for Rob for a very brief period way back when. One thing Rob has in spades is memory—he recalls to the shaken chef his long forgotten dream of owning a real English pub, subtly yet piercingly leading chef Finway to question everything that has led him to where he is now and the food he’s offering. Knell is fantastic in this small but meaty role, and his performance of maddened frenzy is laudable. There are a lot of really great characters and actors who fill their roles well. Brey and Ungvary are wonderful with their brief time on-screen as loser meth-heads looking for a fix, and Adam Arkin as Darius—Amir’s estranged father—turns out a gripping performance as well. Rob seems like the kind of guy who could be a loose cannon and react with violence, but we soon learn that vengeance is not his goal—he just wants his friend back.

Glen: That is a standout scene, and by then it’s clear that Rob, though menacing, isn’t a violent person. He uses his emotional intelligence to force those he meets to confront their own choices. He does it with Amir, chef Finway, and Amir’s father, Darius, another high-end food supplier. The performances are universally excellent, including Cage’s, who—let’s face it—isn’t especially discerning in the roles he chooses. Dangle a paycheck, and he’s there. I mean, consider this: The three years before the pandemic hit, he did six movies a year, most of which were utter trash. Pig, on the other hand, is deeply heartfelt—a small, well-crafted, heartbreaker of a film. It really sneaks up on you. In the beginning, Rob comes off as a dick—his relationship with Amir is wholly transactional, and he’s uninterested in any real connection. We learn, however, that Rob is in self-preservation mode. He has no interest in the trivial. Amir thinks of Rob as a homeless loser, but as they enter the Portland scene and Amir witnesses the deferential treatment Rob receives, he realizes he’s underestimated him. By the end of the film, my deep affection and respect for Rob made his loss my loss. This one will stick with me.

Anna: Cage really owned this role. His Rob is someone living every day with his past tragedy, and the loss of his companion pig is just another blow to an already broken man. We get a glimpse of his past loss when early on in the film he puts a cassette labeled “For Robin” in his player and we hear a woman’s voice come on, but he switches it off before we get past a few sentences. It’s far from a happy-go-lucky film, and it seems that Rob’s pain may be never-ending, but it’s a compelling story and a perfect Palm Theatre movie—art house-y and quiet, beautiful and nuanced. Our screening was pretty empty, so this one may not be on the radar for many yet, but it’s definitely worth watching in the darkness of a movie theater. Hopefully Cage will get offered more films like this. He did a fantastic job, and this is a really great reminder that despite some questionable choices with the roles he accepts, the man is a wholly talented actor and has more to give after decades in the business.

New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Sun Screen. Glen compiles streaming listings. Comment at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.










Weekly Poll
What are the most important conversations to be having right now when it comes to policing?

We need to address how racial bias influences policing.
We should focus on funding the police so they can do their job.
Mental health is where our dollars need to go, both in and out of the police department.
As one Sept. 20 community input meeting attendee said,

| Poll Results






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