Starring: Nicolas Cage, Anton Yelchin, Alexander Karim, Irene Jacob
Running time: 94 minutes
Paul Schrader, a product of the movie brat generation, here offers up a fragmented feature starring Nicolas Cage but on this occasion it’s hard to pin all the blame on Schrader, taking on the role of writer and director, if the rumoured battle with producers are true.
DYING OF THE LIGHT follows the story of a career CIA operative Evan Lake (Nicolas Cage), dealing with a devastating illness that threatens to end his career , whilst on a relentless pursuit of a terrorist who once imprisoned and tortured him but it’s uninspiring, boring and overplayed after much promise. Paul Schrader is a talented writer/ director behind such classics as TAXI DRIVER and RAGING BULL, alongside a credible cast featuring the likes of Nicolas Cage and Anton Yelchin but the finished product is a jumbled mess.
The film contains elements of hard-hitting action, from the setup to the music, but unfortunately the build-up is misleading. It seems there is a real disconnection with what direction they’re taking that results in a confused message with whether we are watching an action film or drama. The BBFC 18-rating is also hard to understand, the most violent scene takes up all of two minutes and I’ve seen 12A rated films that have been more explicit, maybe it’s more of a warning in relation to bad movies?
There is a frantic scramble at the end to come to some conclusion, there’s a quick dash to tie off loose ends. The quick edit is evident and leaves you feeling cheated with the time spent to the inevitable build up. As previously mentioned, the action vanishes quickly and as a result, it’s just a real let down.
The shining moments come from Anton with a subtle and solid performance. His subdued interpretation is appreciated and offers a sense of realism, as he offers a naivety and vulnerability that adds to the fascination of his character. Cage has certainly made up for his lacklustre performance in LEFT BEHIND and while far from his best, he still fulfils the roll despite everything being easily forgettable.
[usr=2] DYING OF THE LIGHT is available on DVD now.