Sundance Review: Diego Luna's 'Mr. Pig' Starring Danny Glover And Maya Rudolph

Solmenity and melancholia permeate every frame of Diego Luna's Mr. Pig, a road trip drama about  man's attempts to unburden his soul...and his favorite prized pig. The opening moments introduce us frail, aging, and possibly crazy Eubanks (Danny Glover) as he's woken up by the overloud telephone. Immediately we can tell he doesn't want to answer it. On the other end of the line is his daughter, Eunice (Maya Rudolph), asking when she can expect to see him come by for a visit. It's clear he doesn't want to, it's also clear she never really thought that he would come in the first place.

The reason for their agitated estrangement isn't obvious, but it probably has something to do with Eubanks' pig farm. Broke and destitute with banks looking to foreclose, Eubanks hopes to sell off his favorite hog to a family friend for $50,000. Eubanks talks to the pig like a lifelong companion, treating him with the concern and care he probably has never shown to his own daughter. But Eubanks has a code when it comes to his animals; they should be treated with respect and given free range to roam. This code causes the deal to go south almost as fast as his fading health.

When Eunice arrives to find her father on the verge of death, she embarks on a journey with him to find a suitable home for the hog.  It's also a chance to make amends with the father who has barely been in her life, and perhaps help ease some of the guilt he's carrying over his absence. Luna doesn't ease up on the sadness one iota, and it will undoubtedly be tough for some to sit through. What few laughs there are come from the stubborn, oversized hog, while Glover and Rudolph trade in mutual sadness. At first their chemistry feels a bit off, but that's to be expected given their characters' emotional distance from one another. However, they eventually hit just the right groove, and Mr. Pig becomes an odd story of family reconciliation, one that isn't afraid to wallow in the emotional mud.

Rating: 3 out of 5