The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent – Film Review

Director: Tom Gormican

Writers: Tom Gormican

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Sharon Horgan, Ike Barinholtz, Alessandra Mastronardi, Jacob Scipio, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tiffany Haddish

Rating: ★★★★½

Nicolas Cage has had a strange career, from bizarre comedies like Vampire’s Kiss, an Oscar winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas, which was followed by massive box office success, and a more recent string of low-budget straight-to-on-demand films, where he’s usually the only good thing about them. On top of that he’s also become known as a meme all over the internet, with his strange moments, spending habits, and phrases that he says in interviews, such as calling his acting style ‘Nouveau Shamanic’. In the last couple of years, with films like Mandy, Pig, and The Color Out of Space, Cage is back, not that he went anywhere, and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent keeps that streak of brilliant films going.

Nicolas Cage plays a fictionalised version of himself, an actor in decline who needs money fast. He takes a million dollars to appear at obsessive Cage fan Javi Gutierrez’s (Pedro Pascal) birthday party. Before the party begins Cage is picked up by the CIA who believe that Javi is holding the kidnapped daughter of a presidential candidate. They task Cage with going undercover to spy on Javi.

This is one of the funniest and wackiest films in recent years. It’s an absolute blast to watch from start to finish. Nicolas Cage is phenomenal, throwing himself completely into the role he was born to play, showing that he doesn’t take himself that seriously. In full Adaptation style, Cage also plays two versions of himself. Alongside his main role, he also plays Nicky a younger version of himself from the Wild at Heart era of his career. It goes without saying that the scenes with both of them on screen are always excellent. Equally Pedro Pascal is amazing in the film, often coming close to outshining the leading man. The pair on screen together is pure comedic gold and if the whole film was just them messing about, it would still be worth watching.

While there are plenty of references to films in Cage’s career, and an entire room dedicated to props and strange Cage memorabilia, this isn’t just one joke over and over. It’s not all about the gimmick of Cage playing himself. While there are jokes and moments that only work if you’re familiar with Cage, it’s not all the film has to offer, thankfully, it also just works as a buddy-action comedy. What could have been a one-note meta joke that only really works in the trailer, has turned out to be an excellent comedy that’s so much more than just a tribute to Cage.

To stay undercover after the party ends Nic offers to start working on a film idea with Javi, and they set off bouncing ideas of each other. There’s a moment, that’s also in the trailer, where they take LSD together and end up getting very paranoid, that’s seriously hilarious. They play off each other perfectly and you just want to spend more and more time together. Their relationship is the best part of the film, and is a lot of fun to watch.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is yet another highlight in Cage’s career. It’s fantastic. Hopefully Cage can keep up the recent string of great films with next years Renfield.   

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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