What is the meaning of life for you? How do you perceive it? For some, it might be a delicate balance where you weigh out the happiness and sorrows. For some, it might just be an accumulation of moments. But what do you do when your expectations do not let you move on when you cannot accept your reality. A place where you close your eyes just so that the world cannot see you. Pig, the 2021 movie, is about such a man. He is running from his past. But has a man ever been able to run from his own shadow?
Vanessa Block and Michael Sarnoski have created a character that is so complete in its arc that it will make you uncomfortable. You feel cramped up in your own being, not because it is something gory but just because it’s not easy to cope up with it. The fortunate ones might not have witnessed something like this. But I think there would be some of us who like to put all the chips in. They are not the cautious ones. They are not as logical as our investors and businessmen. They are emotional beings. They think from their heart and act on their intuitions. It’s not like they are not calculative, but their parameters are very different. They choose satisfaction over profit. They don’t need to go on a vacation to make memories. They can sit in a room idly and create a moment that lasts forever. They perceive and see things quite deeper as compared to most of us.
An Estranged Soul – Robert Feld
Rob, a truffle hunter, was one such man. In a world where “move on” has become the jargon of life, he got stuck, and that too was way deeper than what he must have expected from himself. The biggest fault on his part was that he tried to ignore the situation rather than facing it. He thought that like a knot withers away with time and unties itself, this problem will too. And that’s where he lost the plot. For some people, it tightens and becomes harder with time. He was not only staying alone, but he was lonely. He was running in a circle. No matter how hard he ran, he came back to the same point. He tried to fill the void in his life with his beloved pig. He tried to fill his own hollowness with it. But it was just a matter of time before someone opened Rob’s eyes again, just to show him that the knot had not withered and the world hadn’t changed.
After Rob’s pig is captured and sold off to some rich businessman in Portland, you think that you are in for a John Wick-style revenge saga. But “Pig” defies your expectations at each and every step. The only violence you see in this film is through the piercing observation that Rob holds for certain people who have been a part of his life. Piercing because it is the truth, and often we run away from our own reality.
Rob is never able to play the cassette, which has the recording of his wife speaking. When he goes to Portland, everything that he was trying to forget resurfaces again. He shows others a mirror, but he himself cannot stand in front of one.
The road to acceptance is often the hardest. We as human beings have painted an image of “what it should be,” and we respond to that. We don’t accept our flaws, and sometimes we don’t accept the situations that life throws at us. In Rob’s case, acceptance was the only way forward and the only tool which would eventually get him out of the abyss. Maybe he knows that maybe he didn’t. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you have “moved on. ” It’s just that you have made peace with your circumstances. You stop fighting each and every day.
When Rob realizes that his Pig is no more, it breaks him into pieces. Pieces he was hoping would get together if he isolated himself from each and every aspect that reminded him of his wife.
You expect this feral-looking man to pounce on the person responsible for killing his sole companion, the Pig. But Rob breaks down. He goes back to his shelter in the forest. There is no swag, there is no heroic climax, there is no bloodshed, and there is no revenge. But this time, when he reaches his holt, he plays a cassette. He hears his wife speak. There is a ray of hope once again because he accepts his past.
The Need for Validation
We see Amir(Alex Wolff) visiting Rob on a weekly basis. They have a barter deal where Rob gives him truffles, and he brings in daily supplies. When the Pig is kidnapped, Rob calls Amir as he is the only person he was in contact with. Driving in and Portland, as Rob faces his worst fears, Amir also constantly undergoes a change. It is one of the rare occasions where the supporting characters are as well developed as the protagonist.
We see that Amir often listens to classical music in his car. There is a commentary in which the radio jockey is analyzing the music. That is Amir’s interpretation of how a classy man should be. What should be his tastes in music? What he should like when it comes to food. Everything is so pre-assumed subconsciously that Amir forgets to look for those things that he actually likes. He is looking for validation. He wants to show his dad that he also is a man with class. He eats, drinks, and sleeps in a fashion which he assumes to be superior. Today Amir resides in most of us. We have forgotten that validation is an internal process. The moment we start looking for validation outside, we lose ourselves. In the end, when Rob finally leaves, Amir realizes this fact. He stops the classical music in his car. He is done pretending.
Pig is not meant for everyone. It might even disappoint you if you are in the habit of watching one-dimensional cinema. This one is going to be very alien for your taste buds. It might also take some time for you to finally get the hang of the flavors. But once you do get it, you can’t help but appreciate what the writers have successfully accomplished. Watch it now, and maybe you will get to know yourself better.
Read More – ‘Pig’ Summary, Ending & Sense Of Loss Explained
Pig is a 2021 Drama film directed by debut director Michael Sarnoski.