In Werner Herzog’s latest film, starring none other than Nicolas Cage, we have the financially-troubled actor, preforming as a cocaine-smoking detective of New Orleans. Though deeply intuitive, his addiction begins to nearly spiral out of control, sending him almost over the edge, causing him to go reigning over what’s left of the city with an iron fist.

Finally, Nicolas Cage has obtained the role that he has long deserved. It’s easy to dismiss Cage nowadays with a casual shrug, believing that it’s possible to like him in just about anything, while also mocking the terrible films he’s been in. It’s wonderful, because we get to see Cage at his finest, being allowed to go act as majestically insane as he wishes. And you know what, it works. Moments of Cage’s performance reminded me of Heath Ledger’s Joker, as dear St. Nick is at moments hunched over and immensely psychotic.

Despite the intensity of Cage’s acting, Herzog is willing to add much needed humor to the movie, creating a separate genre entirely. Some of the scenes, more notably the moment in where Cage harasses an old lady physically and mentally, holding a gun to her head while hampering her ability to breath by removing her from her oxygen tank, is by far one of the more brilliant things you’ll see in quite some time. Cage is neither a hero nor an anti-hero, but in fact he’s his own character.

If nothing else, this is a chance to watch a smart and clever director composing movies as they should be made. And if you’re a fan of Nicolas Cage, but slightly tired with the ridiculous roles he’s taken on over the last couple years, you will almost undoubtably be happy with the choice the man has taken this time.

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