Nicolas Cage is back in movie theaters nationwide this weekend, and his latest flick is getting rave reviews. Cage’s filmography has taken a big turn since the mid-2000s, with the Academy Award winner abandoning major studio flicks like Ghost Rider and National Treasure for a string of independent, small-budget movies (many of which are released on demand). Several of his last few projects have garnered buzz, including the horror epic Mandy, sci-fi mind-bender Color out of Space and animatronic slasher Willy’s Wonderland. However, his new movie, Pig, is also getting rave reviews on top of the media attention, per Rotten Tomatoes.
Pig centers around Cage’s character, former renowned chef Rob, trying to find his pet pig after it is stolen. While it sounds like a John Wick rip-off, critics and fans say the movie from writer-director Michael Sarnoski is far from it. It’s a thoughtful thriller that allows Cage to give one of his best performances in years. As a result, the flick sits at 97% percent on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, earning it the coveted Certified Fresh distinction.
That 97% comes from 101 critics’ reviews, with 98 of them reviewing the movie positively. On a 10-point scale, the average rating by critics is 8.3. Among Top Critics selected as “the cream of the crop” by RT, the movie is at 95%, with 19 positive write-ups and 1 negative.
It seems Pig viewers seem to agree with the sentiment. The overall audience rating gives the movie 80% and a 4.1/5 rating, based on more than 100 reviews. When it comes to users whose profiles have been verified by RT, the movie has an 89% and 4.4/5 rating, based on more than 50 reviews.
In order for a movie to receive the Certified Fresh distinction, it must have “a consistent Tomatometer score of 75% or higher,” five Top Critic reviews, either 80 or 40 reviews total, based on the movie being either in wide or limited release. Numbers aside, it’s clear critics think film fans need to see Cage’s latest dramatic performance.
“There’s an undeniable WTF factor to the idea of Nicolas Cage, American movies’ most devotedly erratic wild man, rasping ‘I want my pig,'” wrote Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter’s Senior Copy Editor/Film Critic. “First-time feature writer-director Michael Sarnoski, working from a story he wrote with producer Vanessa Block, lets the underlying comic dissonance register without turning his drama into a joke. Pig isn’t the gripping mystery Sarnoski might have intended, but as a crawl through the underbelly of a hipster city’s glamorous foodie culture, it’s a gutsy narrative recipe, even if the final dish is less than the sum of its ingredients. Through it all, Cage plays the enigmatic central character at the perfect simmering temperature, and without a shred of ham.”
Richard Roeper, entertainment columnist for The Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “It’s a rustic, poetic, occasionally funny, sometimes heartbreaking and wonderfully strange and memorable character study of a man who is in such tremendous pain he had to retreat from the world. Cage is magnificent as Rob, reminding us that when he’s at his best and he has the right vehicle, he’s one of the best actors in the world. This is one of the best movies of the year.”