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Nicholas Cage is Red Miller, a lumberjack who lives in the woods with his girlfriend Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). One day, while Mandy is walking along the road, she catches the eye of Jeremiah (Linus Roache, in a really creepy performance), the leader of a religious, Charles Manson-like cult. One evening, Jeremiah’s followers and some motorcycle gangsters from another world come to their cabin and eventually burn Mandy. The rest of the movie is pure revenge. I am still scratching my head over this one but in a good way. Visually, it is quite striking, with its fade-out imagery, beautiful dream sequences, images of fire, and periodic animated scenes interspersed. After the second half, the movie becomes total revenge and allows Cage to channel the pure insanity of Red to over the top proportions. In fact, it is so much about revenge that it seems beside the point that Red is able to find everyone with very little effort. There are multiple nods here to movies – Wild at Heart (I might have mistaken this for a David Lynch film in an earlier era), Army of Darkness, Leaving Las Vegas. The music is really interesting and is influenced by the metal era of the 80’s. And it is very funny in parts. In one scene, similar to that in the French film Revenge from earlier this year, Red is fighting one of the demonic motorcycle gangsters while an 80’s porno is showing on the screen. And there is a scene involving chainsaws that had the audience laughing. Thumbs up for a film that will most assuredly become a cult favorite. This film will have no interest to anyone who doesn’t like bloody revenge movies, but if this is your genre, grab your popcorn and get ready for a wild ride.

About Gary Burkholder

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