Nic Cage and Anton Yelchin famously joined director Paul Schrader in urging a boycott (we think?) of Dying of the Light, after producers cut Schrader out of the editing process. (Which might not have been an unwise decision, if you’ve seen The Canyons). I hate to provoke a man who owns cobra venom, but I just might have to cross the picket line after seeing this new clip from the film, in which Cage plays a dementia-addled CIA agent.
Nic Cage’s best and worst quality as an actor is that he will ACT AS HARD AS HE CAN unless the director keeps a tight leash on him. He was utilized beautifully by Werner Herzog in Bad Lieutenant Blah Blah Blah New Orleans, during which Herzog would famously tell Cage to “turn the pig loose” (“release the pigs,” as we like to say) when he wanted Nic Cage to go full Nic Cage.
But as Wicker Man proves, it’s just as fun watching a director who has no idea how to direct Nic Cage. Without strong direction, Nic Cage is just as liable to turn the pig loose while picking up a cup of coffee or sharpening a pencil as he is when performing a breakdown or delivering an intense monolog. He’s like if Austin Powers had woken up from his cryofreeze not being able to control the volume of his acting. If you don’t know what I mean, just watch this latest clip from Dying of the Light. I could watch a ten-minute supercut of just the part where Nic Cage takes off his glasses. No one on Earth could put that much effort into taking off his glasses. At that point, it sort of transcends art and becomes a nature film. Nic Cage in his natural habitat. It’s magnificent. This clip should be studied by scientists.