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The Ending Of Pig Explained

Nicholas Cage has made a name for himself over the years for participating in some of the wackiest projects Hollywood has to offer, time and time again. Whether it be a sociopathic, face-stealing terrorist in "Face Off," or a baby-stealing ex-convict in "Raising Arizona," Cage's performances are always a bit "out there," so to speak. He always swings for the fences, no matter the role, and his performance in 2021's "Pig" is no different.

In "Pig," Cage plays a reclusive truffle forger named Robin "Rob" Feld who hunts for truffles with the help of his beloved foraging pig. When Rob is attacked, and his pig stolen, he sets off on a quest for vengeance that forces him to confront the ghosts from his past as he tracks down the pig-snatchers. It's a strange yet riveting character piece, and is one of the best performances Cage has given in years. This entire film is a quiet and methodical contemplation of loss, and the film's ending plays on this theme by forcing Rob to confront yet another tragedy in his life.

A meditation on loss

In the film's climax, Rob discovers that the thieves who stole his pig mishandled her, resulting in her death. He is devastated, and returns to his home in the woods, utterly defeated — paralleling his retreat into the woods when he first suffered loss many years before.

The film had previously revealed that Rob was once a talented chef based in Portland, Oregon, but had withdrawn from society following the death of his wife, Lori (Cassandra Violet). It was also revealed that he didn't actually need his pig to hunt truffles, as he could hunt them fine all on his own, but Rob was only searching for the pig because he genuinely loved her.

The irony of the situation is plain when Rob tells his companion Amir (Alex Wolff), "If I never came looking for her, in my head, she'd still be alive." The entire journey began because Rob did not want to experience the same devastating kind of loss he had with Lori, and yet, it's because of his own actions that he learns of the pig's death.

The film asks its audience a candid question about grief — whether it is better to remain ignorant and save oneself from loss, or to confront it head-on and try to move forward.

Lori's cassette tape marks a new chapter in Rob's life

In Rob's case, he decides to try the latter option. After returning to his cabin, Rob listens to a cassette tape that was left by his late wife — which he had been unable to listen to for years due to the pain of hearing her voice again. 

The cassette is a recording of Lori singing Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," and was meant to be a birthday gift for Rob. By finally listening to Lori's tape, the film makes it clear that Rob has finally accepted the loss of his wife, and that the film's journey has changed him into a better version of himself.

This is further reinforced in a brief scene before Rob steps inside his cabin, where Rob washes all of the blood off his face that had accumulated during his tumultuous quest to get back his pig. It's a symbolic touch that emphasizes how the entire chase for his truffle-hunting pig was more of an escape from his grief than a real way of dealing with it — and that the only way to completely move forward and change is to confront his loss directly. He washes himself clean, and steps into the cabin a new man, ready to face his wife's voice and ready to finally change.

Rob's future is left open-ended

While the story concisely encapsulates the complete emotional arc of Rob's story, by the film's end it leaves the next step in his life journey wide open for interpretation. We know that for the time being, he has promised to continue supplying truffles to Amir (the young supplier whose wealthy father ended up being the one who stole the pig in the first place), but he made that promise before he steps into his cabin and listens to Lori's tape.

With the way Rob changed throughout the story, it's entirely possible that after listening to Lori's tape he might begin to rejoin society, and perhaps even return to his old job as a chef. Perhaps he could even work as a personal chef for Amir's father, who is revealed to have been a regular at Rob's restaurant in the past. The film leaves this all open to audience interpretation, but it definitely seems as though brighter days are ahead for Rob.