Prisoners of the Ghostland: Why Nic Cage's 2021 Movie Is So Weird

The new Nicholas Cage moviePrisoners of the Ghostland, promises to be one of the actor's wildest and weirdest outings yet. This might seem like a bold claim, given Cage's eclectic and more than occasionally baffling career to date. However, considering the subject matter, storyline and personnel involved behind the camera, there is every possibility that the film sets a new benchmark in the bizarre resume of one of Hollywood's most intriguing and charismatic performers.

The film features a blend of different genres and cinematic traditions, thrown together in an orgiastic and explosive melange. Nicholas Cage stars as Hero, a notorious criminal sent to rescue the adopted granddaughter of the Governor of Samurai Town. Over the course of his mission, Hero encounters mutant criminals and engages in sword fights to the death, all while facing off against minigun-wielding adversaries. To call the end result action-packed is an understatement.

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While Prisoners of the Ghostland's storyline is certainly unusual, it is not the only factor that marks it out as a seriously weird movie. From the incorporation of various contrasting styles to the sprinkling of ultraviolence, the entire project is about as bold and brash as any mainstream movie can get. However, perhaps the key reason behind the film's eccentricity comes from the creative forces behind the camera – especially director Sion Sono.

A celebrated and eccentric cinematic auteur, Sono has a reputation for creating some of the most provocative movies in Japan's arthouse film scene. For example, his best-known work, 2008's Love Exposure, is a bizarre comedy-drama that runs to just over four hours in length and focuses on themes of lust, religion and upskirt photography. Although the film is widely hailed as one of the best Japanese movies of the 21st century, it is undeniably unconventional. Given Sono's involvement in Prisoners of the Ghostland, it's hardly surprising that the new movie takes a similar tradition-defying approach.

While Sono's reputation for the outrageous speaks volumes about the final film, the director isn't the only maverick involved in the project. For instance, Prisoners of the Ghostland's producers, RLJE Films, are also responsible for two other recent unusual Nicholas Cage vehicles, Mandy and Color Out Of Space. The latter of these features a shotgun-wielding Cage battling an extraterrestrial mutant invasion, while the former has the former National Treasure star engaging in an epic chainsaw duel. From early footage, it seems like these projects have laid out the blueprint for the new movie.

The eccentric production team, coupled with the bizarre concept and singularly outrageous acting of Nicholas Cage means that Prisoners of the Ghostland has all the necessary ingredients to be a gloriously odd film. Factoring in the cyberpunk-meets-kabuki aesthetic and it becomes inevitable that the end result will be highly unusual. While it remains to be seen whether Prisoners of the Ghostland will be a success, there can be no doubt that it will be one of Nicholas Cage's weirdest films ever.

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