As said by Roger Ebert in his review of the recent Nic Cage film Drive Angry (which I will see at some point very soon). And I could not agree more. Let’s face it; the man has been is a lot of movie – many good, a few great, and many quite bad. I’ve long had an admiration for actors who get to that point in their career in which they only take projects that entertain themselves – public acclaim be damned, and upon hitting up IMDB for some information about one Nic Cage, it dawned on me that that is how the man has viewed his entire career. And I cannot fault the man on that, in fact, it just cemented my love of the man. So much so, that I he is the only actor that has a dedicated section in my DVD library (an honour previously reserved for overall genres, and certain directors). But enough about my love of the man, I’m here to talk about a movie he did. A movie by the name of Next.
Based on a Philip K Dick short story, Next tells the story of Chris Johnson (Nicolas Cage in the role that gave birth to My Hair Is A Bird), a Vegas stage magician who can see two minutes into the future (moreso, he can see every variant of what actions bring). Except for one instance, which leads him to go to a certain diner at a certain time every day, waiting for a certain lady. He uses this ability to help him cheat while gambling, which brings him to the attention of the FBI, who try to rope him into helping them with a possible terrorist plot. This brings him, and his mystery lady (who has the same precognitive ability he does), into contention with both the FBI and the Russian terrorists, both of whom they have to out run.
Now, as far as Nic Cage movies go, it is one of the more ludicrously thought out, with Nic pretty much playing Mr Indestructible (due to the character’s precognition ability). But, because this is Cage playing a somewhat restrained character, the film walks, but doesn’t flip over, that line that pushes a lot of his films into true memorability. In fact, it’s all kinda boring really – and I think I know why. The film doesn’t have that Nic Cage descent into madness that have made other films I reviewed on this blog so memorable. Sure, he does get to bust out the intensity, but there is nothing that stands out as much as in other films. Of course, it doesn’t help that Cage and Jessica Biel have next to no chemistry (and I am starting to think that she is incapable of having real chemistry with anyone), and he fairs only slightly better with Julianne Moore. In fact, no one in this film has the slightest hint of chemistry with anyone else, and if it wasn’t for the fact that people are visually interacting with each other, I would have sworn that they just took a bunch of random solo performances and just edited them together. Cage may be good in good films, and great in bad films, but not even he can save a boring film.
All of this combines to make for a film that certainly is a film.