8/10 Having no idea what to expect, after I heard Nicholas Cage has his pig stolen, I wrongfully thought that this might be a “John Wick” style revenge flick with a pig replacing a dog. I couldn’t have been more wrong and what I incorrectly assumed was an over the top pig rescue mission movie turned out to be a sympathetic, emotional and somber story of a widowed chef who tries to track down his only companion who was taken from him. Cage is not his usual bombastic, over the top self but gives a restrained and subdued leading performance that is his best work in years. Alex Wolff shares almost as much screen time and continues to take intelligent, diverse acting roles for himself. The unlikely duo get a nice character arc for their relationship, especially Wolff who grows throughout the film. This is one of the best scores of the year so far so major credit to composers Alexis Grapsas and Philip Klein for a transformative musical experience. The film is about loss, purpose, friendship and validation and excels at communicating these elements. Writer/director Michael Sarnoski sets the mood well and shows off some impressive direction. This is definitely an independent film that is not for mainstream audiences. Most people would unfortunately find this boring or strange and expect the “John Wick” revenge thriller I assumed this was. I was so glad that it wasn’t a rip off of another film but instead something much more emotionally stirring. At only an hour and a half, I didn’t find it boring at any moment and was glad to have seen this. As for my couple minor complaints, a few individual moments didn’t work for me. Cage has a full conversation with an unaccompanied child and I kept waiting for the kid’s parent to hear his kid talking or a strange man’s voice and rip the kid away from the stranger and it never happens. The scene felt slightly off that the kid wasn’t at all scared by this bloody, homeless looking stranger. How Wolff’s character comes to have a relationship with Cage and not know who he is was something that I couldn’t quite put together. Finally, Cage’s character essentially has a perfect memory as he claims to remember every single meal he has ever made and every single customer he has ever served. While not impossible, it seemed pretty farfetched to me. The film is also poorly lit. I understand that many of the physical locations were dark, which matches the characters’ dark, somber moods but at times it was hard to see what was happening or what facial expressions were even being made. Small complaints aside, Sarnoski’s delicate direction, Cage and Wolff’s fantastic performances, the emotional and moving script, one of the best scores of the year and one chubby truffle pig add up to one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve had in theaters all year. An underrated hidden gem that I hope more people check out. I’d recommend this by the hair of my chinny, chin chin.

#NotToBeTruffledWith / #AWolffAndAPig / #WhenPigsCanDie / #TruffleOffThisMortalCoil / #HereComesTruffle / #YoureInThePigLeaguesNow

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