The script is terrible- I can almost see why Cage worked on this movie- it's got some similarities to some of Cage's older stuff, Wild At Heart for example and a few others but they aren't particularly good movies, they tend to be undercooked and generally ambitious failures. They have potential though but this one is too ridiculous to have any real chance at being good, or even average. I sense a lot of Rumble Fish in this one with Franco's similarities to Dillon but Rumble Fish is pretty interesting and has some great performances- this does not.
There's not much to say about Cage's directing- if his aim was to bring out great performances then he failed, if he was aiming to make it look stylish then its acceptable but nothing special, maybe he was aiming for something intentionally ridiculous and funny. (that sounds like a long shot but it's really not- the best performance in this movie is his five minute cameo as a coke-addicted pimp and it's absolutely ridiculously beautiful in all it's glory) Even if that is what he was going for though, the performances don't reflect that (Blethyn does and Stanton does a great job at bringing some seriousness to the table without ever seeming to take himself too seriously) but Franco is deadly serious and it's pretty laughable, I don't mean to bully him- he has done some good work but this reminds me of his poem: a deeply serious portrayal of something that's utterly ridiculous. I fear Franco just doesn't have the warning in his head that tells him when something sucks basically. I dunno, he's probably not a bad guy and his acting is technically good but in this case it's overly-serious and not right for the film at all. (He got a D in acting school, I can say this shit so get off my back fangirls.)
Suvari's performance is harder to judge- I think she is closer to the mark of seriousness while capturing the right tone for the film but her character is typecast and limited so there's no real development to judge.
The script is the real failure out of everything though, it's simply terrible, the premise is fine and there's some intentionally funny moments and I can see how, if the tone was correct, some of the script would have worked but no, just no. There's some themes that are kind of interesting but they are barely even touched on, you have to make them up for yourself- you have to imagine how the film could have worked and that's not a good sign.
Overall this is a failed project- quite the train wreck for everyone involved really and a terrible choice of film for Cage to start directing- I'd be interested to see him working with something good and see what he brings to the mix (I feel like all he did here was the brilliant cameo and telling Franco to break things a lot- which Franco didn't do very well). It's just a disappointment really- it looks like it'd be worth watching but there's nothing special there.
Well, it's not. It's sometimes sleazy and gritty, but it feels undercooked and slightly polished. It's also really draggy asnd boring, which I didn't think was possible. Franco does what he can, and he's okay, but he can't quite save it. Stanton also helps elevate things, but he could have been used a lot more...and better. Suvari was okay, probably the best out of all the ladies here, but even then she's not given much to work with, and her performance isn't all that great. She does have a bit of chemistry with Franco though, and she's nice to look at.
Overall, this is a plodding, dull mess. It's also about 20 minutes too long. Avoid.