Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: Is it time for Nicolas Cage's resurgence?
The mercurial actor stars in David Gordon Green's Joe alongside Tye Sheridan
Matthew McConaughey, eh? Who saw that coming? One minute, he’s headlining forgettable romcom dross like Failure to Launch and Fool’s Gold; the next, he’s stealing scenes in intriguing indie projects. A look at his resumé shows a clear line in the sand: after 2009’s risible Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, he took a two-year hiatus before hitting a triple whammy with 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer, Bernie and Killer Joe (the latter of which opened a similarly rejuvenated Edinburgh International Film Festival). From there, he went on to make hay with roles like existentially tortured ‘tec Rust Cohle in TV’s True Detective, homophobic cowboy Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club and the eponymous man on the lam in Mud.
It’s Mud’s passing similarity to David Gordon Green’s Joe that gives us hope for another of Hollywood’s most mercurial talents – Nicolas Cage. Like the character Mud, Cage’s Joe is a man with a violent past who lives on the margins of the Deep South; who abides by his own moral code that sets him somewhat apart from society; and who forms a paternal relationship with a local youngster (heck, it’s even the same youngster – The Tree of Life’s Tye Sheridan).
However, satisfying as it would be to suggest that Cage could be heading for his own McConaissance – a Niconnaissance, if you will – it’s a much less clear cut case. For starters, Cage hasn’t suffered a consistently bad patch: Nicophiles may point to his 2009 tax evasion charges as ample motive for appearances in dreck like Trespass and The Frozen Ground, but this was also a period when he delivered stellar turns in Bad Lieutenant and Kick-Ass.
With an upcoming slate that includes a third in the dire National Treasure franchise, our advice would be to enjoy the good Cage performances as they come – just don’t expect them with any regularity.
Joe is screening at Edinburgh International Film Festival, Filmhouse, Wed 25 & Sat 28 Jun.