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Film Review: Dying of the Light

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★★☆☆☆

It’s hard to work out if Nicholas Cage is a tragic figure or a clever post-modern reinvention of a hasbeen movie-star. Every time you think he’s on the right track, he makes something like this.

The really interesting figure here, however, isn’t in front of the camera but behind it. Paul Schrader (yes, the one who directed The Canyons starring Lindsay Lohan) tries to do something interesting with this uneven terrorist-action-crime movie but fails to make it very memorable.

The plot, which often feels like it’s running away with itself, concerns a weather-beaten CIA officer (Cage) who ends up spending his later days battling dementia and warring with an old enemy. He also has Anton Yelchin to help him (never a bad thing), although the two make for an awkward pairing rather than a match made in cinematic heaven. Yelchin is also present in the scene’s most gory and edgiest scene, though I’m not going to ruin the surprise by saying when and where this occurs.

If Dying of the Light feels like a bird with clipped wings, that’s because it is, as after shooting the financial backers of the picture re-edited it and turned out a cut that Schrader refuses to acknowledge. He has disowned it, which leaves you to wonder what his director’s cut would have been like. Better than this, probably.

Dying of the Light (2014), directed by Paul Schrader, is released in UK cinemas and on VoD by Signature Entertainment, Certificate 15. Watch the trailer below:

 

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