Nicholas Cage likes to give a variety of performances in a year, and director Sion Sono’s film, Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021), most definitely is a different movie than Pig (2021). Sono’s film is colorful, crazy, and full of Cage.
Bernice (Sofia Boutella) has fled the Governor (Bill Moseley), but is now lost. The Governor sends a ruthless bank robber, (Cage) to retrieve her…with a catch. This robber is strapped in a leather suit that’ll blow up in five days – unless Bernice speaks her name into a device on his wrist to deactivate it.
There are some really large moments in which Cage gets to be unleashed. After a painful series of events, Cage is giving a speech and shouts a line that very much reminds me of his fiery performance in Kick-Ass (2010). For me, these moments are entertaining – but not necessarily in a good way. I’m not sure if I’m really enjoying the movie or just the Cage-iness of it all. I can appreciate what Cage is doing, as well as his willingness to do movies like this, and others like Pig. Yet, I can’t say I really like it.
Ghostland is wild, and I’m not sure everything it is doing really clicked with me. Nonetheless, it’s impossible to look away. The introduction to Cage’s character is an odd looking bank with a beautiful and gigantic gumball machine. The patrons of the bank are wearing bright primary colors that pop against the gray walls. Each set is clearly well designed, and each one adds something to the visual elements of the story. These elements work the best compared to the story itself.
Prisoners of the Ghostland is an interesting film with some wild performances and brilliant design. It’s not a movie that really worked for me, but there are definitely some interesting elements that could really pop for some. For me, it was just entertaining enough to keep my attention. Prisoners of the Ghostland earns the Not a Total Waste of Time rating.