Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dying of the Light, Paul Schrader, 2014

A slow zoom in on Cage, sardonically raising the corner of his mouth: "It's in his blood". Like the protagonist, the whole film is fascinated by sickness, not so much by its outer appearance, but by its secret inner workings: Cage's nemesis has an islamist disease of the blood, he himself has a neocon disease of the brain. The diseases are drawn towards each other, but the men carrying them are absolutely helpless when they're finally meeting face to face. "How will you kill me?" - "I have no idea."

After all the things I'd read about this, I was really surprised by how consistent and dense this is - until the last ten minutes, which are terrible beyond help and feel completely detached from the rest. Otherwise, there's a lot to love, not least the uneasy buddy movie stuff between Cage and Yelchin (shades of AUTO FOCUS, Schrader's most underrated film).

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