Very spoilery. My review is here — I went the whole hog and gave it five-stars. It is a crackling movie though.
I’m sorry but this does not end well for the pig. Let us bacon — I mean begin.
The film is split into three acts, or meals.
Part 1: rustic mushroom tart
A man is truffle hunting with his pig, before he sits down outside his shack in the woods and makes a mushroom tart which they share. That night, as the coyotes howl, the shack is broken into, and the pig, squealing, is stolen. The man, Rob (though we don’t know his name at this point) is beaten.
He wakes on the floor the next day, covered in blood. He goes with Amir, his young, inexperienced truffle buyer, to another truffle finder, who thinks the pig might have been stolen by a couple of junkies living in a van. The junkies tell Rob they stole her but no longer have her.
Amir drives Rob to Portland, and Rob takes him to an underground fight club run for local hospitality and restaurant staff in the cellars of a long-demolished hotel. The fight club is run by a man called Edgar (Darius Pearce), who is only interested in the value of a name. Rob writes his full name on the wall: Robin Feld, the name a legend in Portland cooking. Robin is badly beaten in the club.
Part II: Mom’s french toast and deconstructed scallops
They stay at Amir’s posh apartment, and Amir cooks him french toast for breakfast. Amir tells him the story of a meal Amir’s mum and dad once ate at Rob’s restaurant. It was such an incredible meal, the couple — who usually returned from date night dinners arguing — returned home delighted, and the meal passed into family folklore, even after the chef (Robin) disappeared. Amir tells Rob his mum later killed herself. Amir’s father Darius, a successful and rather shady businessman, is known as Portland’s rare foods king.
Rob asks Amir to book them into a top Portland restaurant called Eurydice, which Amir manages by using his father’s name, despite promising his dad their business paths would never cross.
At the restaurant Rob is still bloodied and bruised, out of place in this pristine, artificially white environment. The waitress witters on about the food as if the recipe was discovered on an ancient scroll. Rob asks to speak to the chef. The chef is Derrick Finway, who eventually recognises Rob who reminds him he, Rob, fired him after a couple of months for overcooking the pasta. Rob asks Derrick why he has this restaurant when he always wanted to open a traditional English pub, with his signature dish of scotch eggs; and tells him none of it is real, his restaurant, customers, critics, etc. The real Derrick, too, is, according to Rob, missing. Hw also wants to know where his pig is: “We don’t get a lot of things to really care about. Derrick, who has my pig.”
Derrick knows but points out it isn’t someone Rob wants to cross. Amir looks worried, as it’s his father Darius. Outside, Rob demands the address from Amir and tells the younger man they are finished as a partnership. Rob goes to confront Darius while Amir goes to visit his mum in a hospice. She isn’t dead, but is being kept alive by machines, and Amir wishes his father would simply let her die.
Darius offers Rob $25,000 in return for the pig, and tells Rob if he comes back Darius will kill the pig. Rob asks Darius if he’s been like this since his wife died and Darius turns the question back on to Rob, whose wife Lori died a decade ago, an event which sent Rob into the woods. He tells Rob he has made the right decision staying in the woods.
Amir turns up and Rob tells him he didn’t need the pig for truffles, he simply loves her and that’s why he’s looking for her. He gives Amir a shopping list.
Part III: A bird, a bottle and a salted baguette
Amir and Rob go their separate ways in search of the ingredients. Amir visits a chapel of rest where Lori is interred. The manager has all Rob’s wines and gives Amir the requested bottle. Rob visits the baker who took over his restaurant. She has turned it into a bakery, and he requests one of her salted baguettes, which she gives him. He also notes she’s removed the front curtains, which she tells him Lori always wanted to do. Rob agrees it looks better.
Amir and Rob cook the meal in Darius’s kitchen, working silently together, gently handling the ingredients. When the meal is ready they call Darius to come and eat. It’s the same meal he and his wife had in Robin’s restaurant. Part-way through dinner, Darius gets up and leaves in tears.
In his office he screams at Rob to leave. Rob tells him he remembers every meal cooked and every person served. Darius apologises and admits the junkies manhandled the pig and she died. Rob rocks in his grief on the floor.
Amir and Rob go to a diner Rob used to frequent.
Rob points out that if he hadn’t looked for his pig he could believe she is still alive, but Amir points out she’d still be dead and Rob agrees.
Rob walks back to his home in the woods, after agreeing he will meet with Amir in a few days to sell his truffles. He washes his still-bruised and bloodied face in a stream on the way, then goes into his little home and puts on a cassette labelled “For Robin”. It’s Lori singing I’m On Fire.
There is some end-credits audio: the sounds of the snuffling pig, and breaking twigs.
Pig is released in UK cinemas on 20 August 2021, and is out on VOD in the US now: