Film: The Intrinsically Unbearable Weight of Great Talent is Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage has a reputation on screen and off, but there hasn’t been a single film that embodies his wild persona so far.

Nicolas Cage is kind of a wildcard.

Known for his high onscreen performances and eclectic offscreen antics, Cage has a reputation for being unpredictable.

From ’90s superstars in beloved blockbusters like Con Air and Stone To be a productive presence on small projects that most people haven’t even heard of, Cage loves to work. He may be an Oscar winner but he proved that he doesn’t work for the sake of work.

Even with such a solid filmography (he released seven projects in 2019 alone), Cage never had a role like he did in The Unbearable Burden of Great Talent. Never before had a job required him to tap into everything that was intrinsically within him – and it wouldn’t have worked if Cage hadn’t acquired this quirky personality.

Because never before had he had to play a fictional version of himself, the film star Nicolas Cage. And movie stars have so many neuroses.

The Unbearable Burden of Great Talentdirected by Tom Gormican from a screenplay by Gormican and Kevin Ettan, is a crazy, self-conscious, and out-of-control project featuring, among many other things, scenes of Cage strangling an old man, wild at heart version of himself.

And that’s probably not the craziest thing that happened.

Nick (for the sake of clarity, Nick is a fictional version of Cage) is desperate after he loses the game-changing role he wanted. She’s so moody, she’s about to retire from acting, making a lyrical farewell to the majesty of storytelling and myth-making.

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But before he can back down, he’s about to put on one more show – attending the Spanish billionaire Mallorca’s $1 million birthday party.

The billionaire in question is Javi (Pedro Pascal), a die-hard fan who wants nothing more than to hang out with his idols and hopefully he reads the scripts he wrote with Nick in mind.

Despite some initial hesitation, Nick and Javi bond in a talking bromance scene that mimics vibes Before sunriserom-com Nora Ephron or even the stoner comedy Seth Rogen as they connect for a love of culture, Stanislavski and Paddington 2. This ode to male friendship really warms the shells.

Pascal has increased his mega-watt charm to three thousand, so, like Nick, audiences will be captivated by Javi. So when CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) approach Nick to ask them to spy on Javi, who they claim to be a ruthless crime lord, Nick doesn’t know what to believe.

Now he has to do what he pretends to do in the movies – become an action star. But as Javi keeps reminding him, Nick has insane driving skills (thanks to Go in 60 seconds) and can run like no one else (as he did in National treasure).

The Burden of Unbearable Great Talent pivots seamlessly from bromance to action-adventure story, and it’s all purposely telegrammed – but in a more winking way than Cage’s self-referential meta, Adaptation.

There are countless nods to Cage’s work and the entertainment industry in general – quotes from John Cassavetes or mandy comes thick and fast – but never digs that deep when it comes to actually examining Hollywood myth-making.

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But there’s no need, because the goal The Unbearable Burden of Great Talent doesn’t seem to be some heavy thinking. Cage and the filmmakers clearly set out to make something entertaining. And that is right. It’s not in spades.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent is in theaters from Thursday, April 21

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