Danny Glover has been getting too old for this shit since 1987’s Lethal Weapon, but you’ll be glad to hear he’s older than ever and shows no signs of stopping in Diego Luna’s Mr. Pig.
Mr. Pig is a road movie first and foremost, a trip down memory lane and a heartfelt meander with an aging star. There’s not really anything concrete about Mr. Pig, it doesn’t have anything particular it wants to talk about, except perhaps the more realistic side of growing old. That’s not to say Luna’s latest is dour-faced and depressing, it’s an honest look at life with a troubled old man. This isn’t a last-ditch effort at fixing a lifetime of problems, Luna is more interested in coming to terms with the fact some people never change. And that’s equal parts heart-breaking and uplifting.
There’s a pretty intense early sequence where Ambrose visits a pig-holding warehouse and is horrified to the point of near-panic attack. Luna cuts rapidly between Glover’s contorted face and the screeching pink masses of pigs. It’s an obvious point but the film benefits from having some obvious visual moments to help translate where Ambrose’s anxieties come from. It’s a film about ageing and to explore those Luna uses the mechanisation of the food industry and, well, family.
Queue Maya Rudolph’s heartfelt turn as Ambrose’s estranged daughter. For a while things are strained, Rudolph operates with minimum humour and maximum heart, then the two start to focus on how much they love each other rather than how disappointed they are at how much life they missed.
Mr. Pig also a film which nonchalantly positions itself as a US/Mexico production and a road movie spanning the two. Glover is our tour guide and he unknowingly reveals a deep-seated affection for the other side of the border, along with the people who live there. If anything, Luna points out that Mexico isn’t the problem, it’s the world at large. In a time where people are trying to make the US/Mexico border look like a dystopian nightmare, Mr. Pig draws attention to the similarities between Mexico and the US. In the end that’s more productive than anything.
A lovely Sunday film with a tough under-belly, Mr. Pig benefits from intimate time with Danny Glover, whilst Maya Rudolph helps bring out Diego Luna’s ultimately hopeful moral.
Dir. Diego Luna
Stars: Danny Glover, Maya Rudolph