This week will see the release of the new Sion Sono directed Nicolas Cage starring post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure thriller Prisoner of the Ghostland (see my Fantasia review here!) in theatres and on-demand. It’s a super weird film, and if you like weird Nicolas Cage, it probably has something for you.
Here are five more great Nicolas Cage performances in that same spirit and where you can buy, rent, or stream them from home.
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Ah, the 90s. A decade of excesses in action movies that we hadn’t seen since… well.. the 80s, really. Anyway, both Cage and John Travolta are dialled to 11 in this classic John Woo directed action film, and it’s fun from start to finish watching both of them play both roles.
Lord of War (2005)
This might actually be one of my favourite movies of the 2000s, and at the very least, it is one of my most rewatched from that era. Are its politics a little heavy-handed? Yes, for sure they are, but we’re past the age of subtlety and watching Cage play the morally bankrupt gun runner is fun (especially against the morally righteous Interpol agent played by Ethan Hawke) right up until it’s not anymore. I love this movie.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Apparently, when recording dialogue for this movie (the best movie of 2018!), the directors actually had to ask Cage to dial up his performance. He not only did but also asked them if they wanted ‘the full Cage’. This moment of self-awareness, I think, really illuminates him as an actor, for me, and that all those weird choices he makes are indeed choices and I kind of love him for that.
Also, this is the best movie of 2018 and the best superhero movie ever made. If you haven’t seen it, it should be at the top of your list.
Color Out of Space (2019)
A colour from another dimension engulfs a family farm and things….. well, things don’t go well. It is an excellent performance from Cage here and exactly the kind that a surreal, horrifying film like this needs from its lead actor. Whether you’re a horror aficionado or not, this is a must-see from Cage’s filmography.
Admittedly, this list shows some recency bias, but while Cage may work a lot (he has been in 21 movies in the last 4 years), some of his performances really do transcend. Pig, a tale of a man looking for his kidnapped truffle pig, is one of the best movies of 2021 so far (read my original review here), and Cage gives a subtle, nuanced, reserved performance that we will surely remember as one of his best.