There’s an unspoken rule of kick-ass cinema that goes something like this: if Nic Cage is attracted to a project, it’s guaranteed to at least be more interesting than most, if not all-out bonkers. Such is the case with “Prisoners of the Ghostland,” an outrageous achievement in gonzo filmmaking from director Sion Sono. The film doesn’t have a very complicated plot and a lot of it makes no sense, but this is a badass-looking showpiece of cult cinema.
A bank robber (Nicolas Cage) is sprung from jail by the Governor (Bill Moseley) and is given a task that he can’t refuse. In exchange for his freedom, the convict must find and rescue the Governor’s missing granddaughter, Bernice (Sofia Boutella). The unlikely hero is sent into the barren, hazardous area known as the Ghostland, outfitted with a leather suit that is set to explode if things don’t go as planned (spoiler alert: they don’t). His journey takes him on a wild adventure that’s filled with gunslingers, samurai, and the radioactive residents of a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
The film isn’t burdened with genre conventions and as a result, his film has an original vision that plays like Mad Max kabuki theater. From nightmarish visuals to elaborate costumes, this blend of East meets West is a choreographed symphony of strange from start to finish. It’s a ridiculously good looking movie, with brightly colored hues and stunning cinematography. It’s a real feast for the eyes.
There’s a specific audience for this movie, and you can probably sense if you’re in that group or not. Bottom line: if you love seeing Nicolas Cage doing outrageously Cage-y things, then “Prisoners of the Ghostland” should be on your must-see list.
By: Louisa Moore