Thursday, September 16, 2021

He’s at it again — Nicolas Cage, of course

 Prisoners of Ghostland is a difficult movie to evaluate. It's not entirely fresh. It's often ridiculous, and it’s marked by another oddball performance from Nicolas Cage. In his first English-language production, Japanese direcgtor Sion Sono serves up a wildly eclectic post-apocalyptic movie, brandishing tropes from westerns, samurai movies, and who knows what else. In Sono's film, story does little more than provide an excuse for one wild riff after another. Prisoners of Ghostland is a movie of weird accoutrements: a black leather suit wired with explosives that will eliminate the body parts of Cage's character if he fails to complete his mission. His job has something to do with capturing a runaway woman (Sofia Boutella) for a lascivious governor (Bill Moseley) of a place called Samurai Town.  Named only Hero, Cage's character has been imprisoned for a bank robbery gone wrong, which he committed with his partner (Nick Cassavetes). In another part of this dystopian world, the residents serve a giant clock,  literally trying to hold back the hands of time. Sono's take-no-prisoners approach isn't for everyone. The movie's virtues are to be found in its brazenly artificial production design and outre imagery.  Prisoners of Ghostland is a movie for those who may have missed the recent Met Gala, but like watching absurdly dressed people trying to act as insanely as possible. It's the movie that results when the inmates take over the asylum -- or at least that might be what Prisoners of Ghostland wants to be. In the midst of its preposterous derangement and pulp preoccupations,  you may find moments that amuse.

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