Film Review – Dying of the Light (2014)

Dying of the Light - postTitle – Dying of the Light (2014)

Director – Paul Schrader (The Canyons)

Cast – Nicolas Cage, Anton Yelchin

Plot – Diagnosed with a life threatening illness, CIA operative Evan Lake (Cage) and his younger co-worker Milton Shultz (Yelchin) set about trying to track down Lake’s arch nemesis and the long thought dead Muhammad Banir. With Lake’s increasingly volatile persona taking hold and lacking memory, their mission will be anything but straight forward.

 “There are only two kinds of people: men of action, and everyone else”

Review by Eddie on 20/08/2015

A film which will always be best known for the fact that towards the end of 2014 it’s director/writer Paul Schrader (writer of such classics as Raging Bull and Taxi Driver), producer Nicolas Winding Refn and stars Nicolas Cage and Anton Yelchin campaigned against its very release due to what they felt was a severe case of studio interference in their product, Dying of the Light is an incredibly “random” film that has moments of utter madness in an other wise unspectacular plot that creates a film that could’ve benefited from allowing it’s zanier elements to take hold to ward off the feeling that this is in fact, an incredible boring thriller.

You get the sense that at it’s very core Light wanted to be a much more kookier tale, a vision no doubt concocted by the unique minds of Schrader and Winding Refn, but whatever Light was intended to be the studio clearly got spooked by what is was seeing. If, as we’ve been lead to believe, the studio did in fact lock the creators out of the editing suite there can be some form of excuse as to why Light feels like such a generic and uneventful tale of revenge and a man’s battle of personnel and more physical demons. This generic nature of the tale is the predominant feature of the film but we get slight moments of madness and downright bizarre dialogue that will be source of long standing joy for Cage fans, that makes Light a must see for fans of the wild eyed maniac.

With a prosthetic ear and typically noteworthy hair, Cage’s performance as dogged CIA agent turned rouge revenge seeker Evan Lake is often a joy to behold. From Lake’s speech to a room full of new recruits, a sitting on a cold bench in the heart of a Russian winter “Don’t try to put a bib on me!” or a casual sniffing of a fern plant, Cage is allowed to let loose on occasions here and it creates an undeniably fun and hilarious turn in what was no doubt supposed to be a serious role with musings on everything from national pride to dementia commentary. It’s in Cage’s off kilter performance that Light could’ve been something truly special in an off the chart way but it’s not hard to see why the studio could sense that it may have just been too much for the world to handle.

With a seen a million times before revenge tale of CIA agent vs. the big bad (here a sick, chair bound terrorist), Dying of the Light has been made to feel like a safe and uneventful thriller that so dearly wanted to be something let loose from the chain. There are moments of pure madness that against better judgement one can recommend, but in the end this is a lesser “Crazy Cage” film that fans of his particular line of work would be better suited to watch a repeat viewing of Wicker Man for their kick of looney.

1 and a half anti Obama rants out of 5

Cage - wearing a t-shirt as part of the campaign against this film

Cage – wearing a t-shirt as part of the campaign against this film


10 responses to “Film Review – Dying of the Light (2014)

  1. Too bad this one didn’t pan out. The collaboration of Refn, Schrader, and Cage could’ve been something to behold. Schrader and Cage especially could use some sort of artistic renaissance.

    • Yeh man its funny because there are like the tinniest glimpses of what the film could’ve been in the final product but clearly judging by the campaign against the film the trios vision was taken from them by the studio.

      • That’s too bad. It’s not like they haven’t proven in the past that they can make a good film or too. The pedigree there is pretty stellar.

  2. I’m set on the fact the only Cage movies worth watching are National Treasure, Lord of War, Windtalkers and Adaptation. I’ve lost a lot of faith in him due to the recent projects he has attached himself.

  3. Pingback: Film Review – Dog Eat Dog (2016) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

  4. Pingback: Film Review – First Reformed (2017) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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