Let’s get weird and zzzzzzzzzz….
Prisoners of the Ghostland is the new Sion Sono movie starring Nic Cage as the Hero and Bill Moseley as the evil Governor villain. The film sells itself as a fusion and east and west madness.
It does not deliver.
Bernice (Sofia Boutella) wants to escape the governor and ends up a prisoner in the “ghostland,” which is a weird area trapped by ghosts. The ghosts of dead prisoners are trapping everyone here and now they’ve all gone mad, or mostly mad, or maybe they were made before. Who knows? Who cares? Not me! Anyway, Governor hires Hero to go and rescue her but puts him in a suit that will blow off body parts if he misbehaves.
Hero has a dark past and seems to be on some sort of journey for redemption. Ends up finding Bernice easily but then they have to decide what to do. She wants away from the Governor’s evil grasp and Hero seems willing to oblige.
The style of the film is interesting. Fun costumes and anachronistic settings create a mishmash of ideas that on the surface is visually pleasing. However, early in the film is becomes clear that these images are little more than set dressing. Any symbolism that could possibly be derived from them is worn on the sleeve. What ends up happening is we have a movie that thinks it is significantly smarter than it is.
Cage seems lost for most of the film. His stoic character sometimes reacts with madness to the insanity around him but often he just seems perplexed. It is odd to see a film where the actors are obviously grasping for something to hold onto. Despite thinking this movie is terrible, I have to give Moseley credit for at least appearing to have fun amidst the absurdity.
Films starring Cage have become a bit of a meme over the last decade or so, and this one will do little to detract from that image. There is little purpose here. Watching the film seems like watching someone attempt surrealism who doesn’t understand it, which is unfair to Sono as his other films simply work better. Here though he missed the mark.
There’s camp, gore, and weirdness abound but it is all thrown on the wall without regard to purpose or point. They were so consumed with making a movie that looked cool they forgot to ask whether or not anything they were doing was good. I’m fine with a film that is confusing, but this one just doesn’t make sense, and the gaping plot holes, and odd (and forced) conflicts do little to reinvigorate this film in the final act. By the halfway point, this one is already out of gas. The whole thing is just boring.
I think the creators didn’t realize how dumb this movie was when they made it.
Might be the worst film of the year.