…and the quest to see everything

Nicolas Cage: Murder is MURDER!

At first I can’t help but think that the Cageists inflates their idol and the god-awful scenes from terrible movies in which he’s starred. This is especially the case in Neil LaBute’s The Wicker Man. Okay, so the awkward babysitting sessions with a female partner in his character Edward Malus’ police force after a traumatizing case and the beautiful calligraphy within a letter from a former girlfriend are ridiculous. But are they the unintentionally funniest moments ever captured on camera? Not really. It’s not Tommy Wiseau’s The Room.

From Edward’s rural, arid California post to a strange island off the coast of Washington State where his paramour now lives, the letter summons him to rescue her – or their – daughter, who is missing and presumably dead because ofan evil neighbor. This insular place is called Summer’s Isle, which produces organic produce and stuff like that. After a nightmare/flashback-filled ferry trip he gets into the island after a pilot reluctantly smuggles him in. Even from the first time he meets the handful of townspeople in the isle, he senses that they’re xenophobic and ritualistically homicidal and he has inadvertently put himself and the pilot as these people’s targets.

Speaking of The Room, early reviews for this movie – that is, before it got its cultish acceptance – have criticized its sexism. Summer’s Isle happens to be the namesake of a matriarch (Ellen Burstyn, who probably did this and W to fund those annual indie love labours she stars in every year). She’s descended from the Wiccans of Salem and this sanctuary in this opposite coast is where her ancestors and her emasculate their men into breeders and young daughters into sacrificial lambs. This commune is an alternative to Edward’s badge-pushing patriarchy. That could also mean that women are equally capable of the subjugation that men give women but that still puts Edward in the right.

Cage’s signature freakouts come in spurts, like when he calls little girls liars, flings a woman (LeeLee Sobieski) across the room or punches another. Like these little seizures, maybe this is one piece within a larger puzzle, and I’ll take as many laughs as this film deserves. He approaches Edward’s paranoia, as well as the script’s – also written by LaBute – with admirable earnestness but it’s this same quality that hinders me from fully enjoying this.

2 responses

  1. Is this one of those movies when Cage was “good” because it’s all a blur for me, since I never really liked any of Cage’s performance – at lest not often, and not by much – and I remember being a bit …. disgusted by this one? Disgusting probably being a problematic adjective, it’s more that I found the general movie unappealing.

    But, at this point, you have to wonder – if it matters in the grander scheme of things, he’s gone for good, right?

    March 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    • Disgusted is probably the right word for this movie. I’d totally enjoy it more if it didn’t take itself too seriously.

      Nic has an appeal that I get that probably goes over some people’s heads. It’s some irony histrionic thing. And as long as someone is willing to bankroll the National Treasure movies he’s here to stay.

      He’s not the best thing in Adaptation but he’s very good in it and speaking of that movie he’s in Chuck Kaufman’s new movie Frank or Francis. And he’s going to be in a remake of The Courtship of Eddie’s father for some reason.

      March 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm

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