Initially, looking at this movie had me thinking that it was going to be one of the most boring movies ever made, and that’s a low bar to hit, especially with a movie starring Nicolas Cage. And yet, while watching it didn’t appear to be as inspiring as critics made it out to be, this movie wasn’t that bad. It does show a very human approach to life since the main character, Robin comes off as a bit of an eccentric that gave up on a significant number of things in life after the death of his wife. Keep that in mind, a significant number of things, since he didn’t give up on life itself. Moving out to the wilds of Oregon is a bit of a stretch. Still, it’s not that hard to believe since he didn’t cut all ties with civilization, given that he’s still attached in some way to the cooking world through Amir, a young man that brings him ingredients in return for the truffles that Robin and his pet pig find within the forest. Those that aren’t up on the restaurant business and might not know much about the culinary arts would possibly wonder why truffles are so prized, but the truth is that truffles are a very prized delight to many people. Don’t ask for details, just know that they’re expensive since they’re rare.
The main character lives a much simpler life, but it’s obvious that he’s tortured.
Upon seeing Robin and his pig in the forest, it’s obvious that they have a bond that has come from living together for so long. Pigs are also well-known for finding truffles, as this has been used in a couple of other movies and is factual, even if it’s not common knowledge everywhere in the world. But the bond goes beyond the idea that Robin uses the pig to find the precious truffles, as it’s seen that the pig is his companion and helper. Taking note of his reaction to playing a specific tape with a woman’s voice on it, though, it becomes easy to see that he’s a bit troubled by something, likely a loss, that could have driven him to become a hermit living in the woods with a pig and eking out an existence by finding an ingredient that many chefs pay an exorbitant amount to procure for their kitchen.
Robin isn’t a violent man, but he’s not exactly stable, either.
When his pig is stolen, it’s fair to think that Robin might fly off the hook and chase down whoever is responsible. He’s calm and collected for the most part, but there appears to be a type of contained fury beneath the surface that allows him to enter an underground fight club and take a beating to discover the information he needs. From there, it’s just one stop after another until he finds the person who had the pig abducted, Amir’s father of all people. It’s also interesting to watch Robin’s attempt to retrace the steps of his life as he revisits his old home and a few acquaintances that he either taught or worked with over the years before he took off for the woods.
The ending isn’t exactly happy, but it’s an ending.
All this time, Robin is searching for his pig, and the unfortunate fact that he finds out is that the pig was mishandled and, unfortunately, killed. All his effort and the heartache caused became meaningless in a way, as he is devastated by the news. The fact that Amir learned a little something, such as how to cook with passion, was a joyous moment that can be taken from the movie, but the realization that the pig was killed is a bit hard to swallow. Still, after everything, Robin admits that he didn’t need the pig to find truffles; the pig was vital because he loved her, she was his companion, and that’s something that many people should understand. At some point, a pet becomes your family, and losing a family member can be devastating.
All in all, it was an impressive movie.
The hype it was given and the credit bestowed upon it by critics is still a little tough to buy into, but it was put together convincingly, making it easier to watch. The pace isn’t for everyone, but the overall story is one that a lot of people might enjoy since it comes from a very real place that many people can identify with. It’s the type of movie that one might watch when there’s nothing else on, but it’s worth the effort.
It could be one of Nicolas Cage’s best movies.