A smart and cheeky riff on the Nicolas Cage Syndrome entertainment news, Firstpost

The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent can be described as happily mediocre — but Nicolas Cage’s metaphorical cage heightens his campy genius

I’m here for the train of legends becoming vulnerable and existential with metafilms. The unbearable weight of Martin Scorsese’s massive talent has been called out The Irishman. For Tarantino (and Leonardo DiCaprio) it said Once upon a time in Hollywood. For Kenneth Branagh it said Belfast. For Shah Rukh Khan it said fan. For Anil Kapoor and Anurag Kashyap it was even said AK against AK. You could name every Nicolas Cage film of the last ten years The unbearable weight of massive talenthis cinematic therapy session is, of course, a goofy action comedy.

That the film can be described as happily mediocre – if it weren’t for the metaphorical cage of Nicolas himself – further heightens its combative genius. It’s fun, frothy and disarming, but in the best Nick Cage way possible, where the emergence of Nick Cage-ness means the sheer torture of being Nick Cage is both the double bluff and the inside joke of the movie is. There’s a kidnapping, an acid trip, a spy mission, a bromance and a movie premiere – it’s a bit like watching James Bond lead the way Austin Powers as a broken and distraught James Bond. The irony is that Cage has been enjoying the third innings. Mandy, pig and now this film is exactly the kind of invigorating and inventive work that its “character” seeks here.

Like any good self-reflective statement, The unbearable weight of massive talent — which, by the way, is a phrase most embittered writers would love to put on their tombstones — is less of a smug celebration and more of a cool confession. The film functions as the sporting highlight of its star’s highly acclaimed direct-to-VOD phase. Several articles have appeared recently about Cage’s decade of debt. And now I understand why.

The real context (and a little self-loathing and self-seriousness) makes this film; Otherwise, it’s just another mediocre action-dramedy about a father who’s seen too many out of stock Movies setting out to save his teenage daughter.

Cage, of course, plays a not-so-distant version of himself: a broke and aging Hollywood actor on the verge of retiring from acting. He’s so desperate that he calls into a hotel driveway yeah Director David Gordon Green. Tired of rejection, Cage accepts a $1 million offer to attend a wealthy Spanish superfan’s birthday party in sunny Mallorca. If the movies have taught us anything, it’s anything but boring when an American goes on a trip to Europe.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Review A smart and cheeky riff on Nicolas Cage Syndrome

This superfan, Javi, is played by the great Pedro Pascal in a meta riff about his own fame. The CIA in Mallorca uses Cage as a mole because they are convinced that Javi is the head of the arms cartel – Pascal was the cop narcotics – behind the kidnapping of the Catalan President’s daughter. (When Cage passes out after accidentally drugging himself, an agent’s last resort is to yell “Action!” – only to see the thespian rise like The Undertaker). Some of the film’s best scenes feature Javi and his idol forming an unlikely bond through their love of cinema. A passionate Javi even has a script he wants Cage to star in, which becomes a running gag in a narrative containing not one, but two midlife crises.

The chemistry between the two is great to watch, especially as you sense a real connection amidst a circus of Nick Cage tropes. It’s certainly better than the chemistry between Cage and his imaginary younger self – a Wild at heart meets leave Las Vegas Alpha stud – who at one point snoggs Cage in the most profound image of a movie star’s narcissism ever captured on screen.

The question, as always, is: is the novelty of this meta-ness fading? At 107 minutes that has to happen. But perhaps the connection between Real and Reel is so endearing — no actor has manifested their own legacy so consistently, or for so long (remember great?) – that even the generic set pieces feel like a drunken personal essay. Nicolas Cage has always been a cocktail of fame and myth: an actor who acts like a star and at the same time a star who acts like an actor. It’s both bigger and smaller than his films, which is a massive achievement at a time when entire careers are rooted in the cult of reverence. In India, where art is routinely reduced to a canvas of ego, a superstar announces his collaboration with a blockbuster director in a sketch-like video. But Nicolas Cage announces his collaboration with Nicolas Cage by turning his ego into a canvas for art.

Rating: 3.5/5

The unbearable weight of massive talent hits theaters.

Rahul Desai is a film critic and programmer who spends his free time traveling to all the locations from the films he writes about.

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