Dog Eat Dog
Crime thriller from the brain behind Taxi Driver stars Nicolas Cage Discuss this article
That viral video of Nicolas Cage going loony on screen was precisely as great as you’d imagine: a supercut of scenes featuring the scenery-chewing star shrieking like a wound-up banshee maniac. But could it have had an unfortunate side-effect? Did Cage take one look, realise he’d gone too far and make a vow to stop freaking out on screen?
Exhibit one: Dog Eat Dog, in which he plays Troy, the leader of a Cleveland-based criminal trio tasked with kidnapping a baby and forcing the father to cough up the millions he owes a local crime lord. The perfect opportunity for Cage to go properly lunatic, you’d imagine. You’d be sadly wrong.
In fact, the only one cutting loose at all is Willem Dafoe, as Troy’s aptly named sidekick Mad Dog, who in the film’s first scene murders his girlfriend and her 12-year-old daughter.
It’s a blunt, ugly opening, setting the tone for the film to come. Director Paul Schrader (the likes of Blue Collar as well as the screenplays for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull) was a major talent once, but his direction here alternates between TV-dull and look-at-me lurid. The biggest waste, though, is Cage: a brief spot of him in full flow would’ve gone a long way to elevating this flat, dreary thriller.
The bottom line
Weak stuff from the brain behind Taxi Driver.
Time Out Doha,