SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL
(director: Yuval Adler; screenwriter: Luke Paradise; cinematographer: Steven Holleran; editor: Alan Canant; music: Ishai Adar; cast: Nicolas Cage (The Passenger), Joel Kinnaman (The Driver), Kaiwi Lyman (Colleague), Cameron Lee Price (Cop), Burns Burns (Owner), Rich Hopkins (The Trucker); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Alex Lebovici, Stuart Manashil, Allan Ungar; RLJE Films/Signature Films; 2023)
“It’s only for Cage apologists who think everything he does is a work of genius.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Israeli director Yuval Adler (“Bethlehem”/”The Operative”) and writer Luke Paradise offer up an inferior B-film that has no substance, is demented, is dialogue heavy, has an unhinged and unsympathetic evil maniac starring in it called the Passenger that’s played by Nicolas Cage (doing his usual signature shit) and drags on at an unbearable slow pace. With Cage hamming it up in an over-the-top performance as the red-headed villain carjacker from Las Vegas by way of New England, who carries the two-hander to its destination of cinematic hell (ensuring us it’s only for Cage apologists who think everything he does is a work of genius).
It is so bad of a road trip horror thriller that it would be hard to make it worse. Most of the action takes place in a moving car at night, as the carjacker introduces himself at gunpoint, in the parking lot of a hospital, to the mild-mannered man known only as the Driver (Joel Kinnaman) on his way to the hospital to visit his pregnant wife in labor.
If you’re thinking this film has any thing to do with the Rolling Stone song, you would be mistaken.
In the big reveal, we learn Cage might have targeted the vic to avenge some gangland incident in the past as this dude reminds him of the guy who once wronged him.
It played at the Fantasia Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 8/9/2023 GRADE: D