High points in the movie: Steve Buscemi as a jailbird with a heart of gold.
Low points: Everything else.
Nic, playing Johnny Collins, wears all black and a mullet. He's the worst kind of tortured artist, the kind that has to talk about how tortured they are to everybody around them.
Judge Rheinhold is Thierry Martin, the head of a family-owned communications business. His wife is Zandalee, a skinny boutique owner bored with responsible Judgester, who starts banging Nic's tortured artist self, an affair that culminates in the weirdly passive death of The Judge in the bayou following some homoerotic/man on man sexualized violence.
Johnny Collins, who also sidelines as a drug addict and mule, gets in debt to the wrong people; Zandalee, who is detached from her emotions in pretty much the entire movie, sacrifices herself to save his life. At the end, everybody is dead or unhappy.
One audience member on Rotten Tomatoes sums up the film like this:
"A boring movie about a woman named Zandalee-what kind of fucking name is that? who has an affair with her husband's friend. Terrible acting and no type of plot. Maybe there is one hot sex scene but that's about it."
Thanks Jennifer Torres! That pretty much captures the film.
Based on the pretentious dialogue, the slow pacing, the meaningless plot, the apparent hatred of all three main characters, and the setting (New Orleans, decay, etc) this is intended to be a serious art film. The director, Sam Pillsbury, worked on the excellent and underrated 1985 sci-fi film The Quiet Earth (and later went on to film Free Willy 3 before quitting film to start a vinyard in Arizona that he sold to the lead singer from the band Tool-true story) but he channeled none of the fine work from Quiet Earth into this ball of self-loathing and misery.
Nobody is particularly great in the film-although the actors are all too skilled to turn in terrible performances-but I got the feeling none of them bought into the story completely, and it shows. There's a lack of chemistry. Nic's character is super-intense and so Nic stares and lot and breaks things and doesn't smile. I just wanted to slap him. Nic has a very hard time fully embracing roles that do not include some aspect of self-mockery. The twat he plays in this film couldn't reflect upon his own image in a mirror, and Nic ends up playing him as a very superficial character, all destructive id with no hint of something deeper.
One of the worst Cage films. A film that desperately wants to be something it is not, and suffers twice as much for failing.
I've reviewed this as a comedy and I think I can get away with that because it's so laughably bad that it must be intentional. It almost certainly isn't intentional thus making this a miserable failure as a film but I'm being very kind here and giving it the benefit of some extreme doubt by saying it's a comedic satire of the erotic thriller genre. It's Carry On Adultery with Nicolas Cage.
It's all unbearably funny- everything Cage does and says and thinks of doing or saying in this is beyond belief- one example- "People die and people die , everybody dies... leave him. ". That's the most intricate piece of dialogue in this and it's terrible.
This is a film where an insane Nicolas Cage is gifted with a superpower of being able to sexually control an attractive young women without ever doing anything other than be unintentionally hilarious. Cage was clearly making himself funny here though and rightly so- what else can you do with something this bad!?
In one scene Zandalee is jogging and Cage suddenly appears from the corner and drags her into the side of some buildings before then awkwardly touching her groin area. This is somehow enough for her to, instead of pull out some pepper sky and scream for help, decide he is God's gift to women.
"Let's f*** in the altar of the primal" Cage says at one point in reference to a church where he drags her unwillingly into a confession booth and has sex at her- not with her, just at her, until, somehow, yet again, she finds it irresistible.
"take my coonass p***k inside of you with your husband in the next room"
Everyline is this ridiculous, it's beyond belief and the funniest thing you will ever see. I'd give it 100% and call it one of the greatest comedies of all time if it wasn't for the sad reality that this movie is trying to be taken seriously. I refuse to call it bad though because the comedy deserves better and so this one is accidentally fresh but still fresh I assure you- if you want to see an erotic thriller so unerotic and un-thrilling that you'll laugh until you cry (and you should!) then this is for you.
The cinematography was poor and seemed very cheap, however, toward the end of the film it did provide some very good looking set pieces. Speaking of the end, it picked up and some real drama was at hand, some things didn't make sense but that's par for the course with this. The ending was thought provoking, if a little sudden.
If the film had some tighter direction, little plot advances and had better casting of the titular character, it could have been a real classic.
Opening Rant: We start off with an early-90s gem that looks made for TV, but has far too much nudity to play on the Super Station. Director Sam Pilsbury appears to be banished to TV movies after this, although he did direct the critically acclaimed Free Willy III. For whatever reason Zandalee only played in Hong Kong and Italy, which would explain the Chinese menus on the DVD from Netflix.
The Plot: Zandalee is married to a former-poet-now-exec who has no attraction to her whatsoever. Enter Nick Cage, long haired, cocaine addicted painter who sweeps Zandalee off her feet... in the other room... while her husband is entertaining guests. She falls for him, he falls for her, husband is unhappy, everybody's dead by the end except Nick Cage, who is very very sad.
Favorite Nick Cage Line: "I wanna shake you naked and eat you alive."
Favorite Nick Cage Moment: Nick Cage is very upset, strips down to booty shorts, and rubs paint all over his body while screaming. Alternate: Nick Cage shoveling a mountain of cocaine into his lover's vagina as though the cops are at the door and he's gotta hide the stuff.
My Impression: Frankly, it was embarrassing to watch. Everybody was trying so hard to act, and obviously had no idea what they were doing. The filming was awkward, the bar scenes were quiet enough to hear a pin drop, and the ADR and sound mixing were typical TV terrible.
That wasn't so bad, was it? Far easier to read than Zandalee was to watch.