With the approaching release and rave reviews of “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” generations of movie watchers are finally reconsidering their harsh views on Nicolas Cage. I’m as guilty as anyone of using Nick Cage as the butt of a joke (especially in Cards Against Humanity) but I can say without a doubt that the actor has never given a boring performance. I mean, who doesn’t love a spontaneous Nick Cage outburst or self-referential joke thrown randomly in a drama, romcom, horror, or even sci-fi movie?
If you want to view one Cage’s most shocking movies in recent years, our collection has the perfect film for you: Mandy (2018). Written and directed by Panos Cosmatos, Mandy is a psychedelic action horror film starring Nick Cage, Andrea Riseborough, and Linus Roache. Set in the Pacific Northwest in 1983, the peaceful lives of Red Miller (Cage) and his girlfriend Mandy (Riseborough) are savagely shattered by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand (Roache) and a group of motorcycle-riding demons. In response, Red brutally takes his revenge on all of those who wronged him. Immerse yourself in this phantasmagoric world, and expect the unexpected!
Minor spoiler alert: if that description doesn’t pull you in, just know that there’s a chainsaw duel scene.
To be very clear, this movie is not for the faint of heart: it is for true horror, slasher, and occult movie fans. There is a significant amount of gore and brutality that made even a horror fan like myself squeamish. Between forging his own weapons and fighting different forms of evil, Cage embodies rage and revenge like no other. Even with limited dialogue, his performance showcases his ability to make an unsettling scene comedic in the best way.
Along with the incredibly realistic practical effects and especially entertaining action sequences, the cinematography and editing of this movie really steal the show. The use of primary colors and contrasting hues filtered over the Panavision Primo anamorphic lenses gives a texture and graininess reminiscent of your classic 1970s and 1980s slashers. It creates an immersive experience for viewers that I highly recommend. This unique and gorgeous film gives standard-horror-movie fans like myself a new appreciation for experimental indie and art-house films.
If horror is not your thing, I still implore you to give Nick Cage another shot. Let yourself be entertained with his unpredictable performances and his ability to never blend into the background of movies. All of his movies may not be Oscar-worthy, but hey, at least they’re entertaining! LS
Student blogger Liz Sheldon joined the Media Services staff in Fall 2021. She hails from Indianapolis and is in her junior year at IU. This is her first blog post for Media Beat.
Selected Nicholas Cage film holdings available via IU Media Services:
World Trade Center (2007)
Omnibus, Vinnie Goes To Hollywood (2000) (Nicholas Cage is one of a number of celebrity interviewees who speak about working with English soccer star turned film celebrity Vinnie Jones)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Wild at Heart (1990)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Rumble fish (1983)