Watching the trailer or stepping into the first minutes of this film, the viewer has a sense that this might be a period piece. Discovering that this is a contemporary story is just the first of the movie’s unexpected moments. Rustic mushroom tart, the first of a three-course meal the movie offers up, opens to an elderly hermit, Robin (Nicholas Cage), serving a mushroom delicacy to his truffle hunting pig. Things are dank and dirty in the cabin where this unlikely pair live and share their meal.
The truffles are sold into a shady and competitive market that supplies trendy upscale restaurants in the city. When the pig is stolen, Robin becomes unleashed and will stop at nothing to get it back.
The next two courses of the movie menu take Robin into the city where he tracks down people of his past in search of his pig.
Set in Oregon, the lushness of the coastal rainforest where Robin and his pig live, contrasts with the gritty and cutthroat environment of the city, symbolic of the celebrity chef ladder that Robin himself once climbed.
The movie is a study of character and human relationships in the face of loss. Food prepared and served becomes a eucharistic metaphor even as the film exposes a darker side of celebrity chefs and pretentious dining. And though set in a specific place, the themes are universal.
Not a typical character for Nicholas Cage, the movie has garnered tentative responses. This reviewer was unexpectedly drawn into the story and its underlying messages and yet is unsure of who to recommend it to. Banner reading film viewers might give it the chance it deserves. Rated TV-MA for strong language. (Hulu, Amazon Prime)