Films may be made or ruined by an actor’s efficiency. An excellent actor can elevate a so-so script by means of his emotion and supply, even when it doesn’t make the movie an prompt basic. While solely one in every of Nicolas Cage’s three releases of 2021 acquired widespread crucial acclaim, Cage was a standout in all three. There’s no actor that higher defines the yr and after I look again at 2021 in cinema, I’ll take into consideration Cage’s wild performances that left me entertained all through a turbulent yr.
Cage’s wildly entertaining yr of movies kicked off in February with Willy’s Wonderland, a reasonably blatant spin on the Five Nights at Freddy’s online game franchise. However, what makes this goes from a shameless money seize to an entertaining and hilarious watch is Cage, whose efficiency is outlined by his silence.
Cage’s character will get a flat tire on a rustic street after which has to choose up work as a janitor at an deserted leisure heart to pay for his automobile repairs. During his shift, he’s locked in and meant to be a sacrifice for bloodthirsty animatronic mascots that used to entertain youngsters. It’s a reasonably wild plot, and Cage’s character (solely often known as “the Janitor”) by no means speaks a phrase your complete time. Instead, he takes a sequence of regimented breaks throughout his evening shift, the place he drinks soda and performs pinball in between fights with the lethal mascots.
It really speaks to Cage’s charisma that he can carry the movie whereas not uttering a phrase, and whereas Willy’s Wonderland doesn’t reinvent the slasher style, it winds up being much more enjoyable than it ought to’ve been and a big a part of that may be attributed to the Coppola member of the family.
My favourite movie of 2021 was Pig, Michael Sarnoski’s emotional drama about truffle searching. When the primary trailer got here out, the movie turned a little bit of a meme on-line because of the absurd storyline of Nicolas Cage trying to find his truffle-sniffing pig that had been kidnapped. While that’s a part of the enchantment, there’s a actual coronary heart to the movie that explores class, the significance of non-public relationships, and shifting on, which all increase Cage and Alex Wolff’s characters as they develop and alter through the movie.
And this all occurs at a brisk 92 minutes, which means Pig by no means overstays its welcome and but nonetheless provides loads of room for Cage to provide arguably one of the best efficiency in a drama this yr. A former chef turned recluse, Cage performs the character that’s going by means of grief in his personal method. In the previous few years, grief has been unavoidable for almost everybody, and this movie about solace hit in all the appropriate methods due to nice path and most effort from all aboard.
RELATED: Alex Wolff Discusses Pig, Working With Nicolas Cage
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Cage described Sion Sono’s Prisoners of the Ghostland because the “wildest film” he’s ever made and that’s not an announcement made with any hyperbole. The movie isn’t one of the best work from the eccentric Japanese director, nevertheless it definitely has its share of nice moments even when the core drama isn’t that gripping.
Even if you happen to’re simply there for the absurd slightly than to learn into its deeper themes, you’ll get to see Cage strapped right into a bomb-filled vest, watch him lose a testicle due to it, and get into loads of shenanigans. It’s a ridiculous position and vastly completely different than his beautiful silence in Willy’s Wonderland and extra dramatic position in Pig, however all three movies this yr confirmed completely different sides of Cage and his versatility, and amazingly the actor was as much as the duty each time.
RELATED: Interview: Sion Sono Views Prisoners of the Ghostland as a Fresh Start