5. Face off
John Woo steps it up a gear with this completely out of this world idea. It’s simple though really. Cage plays the part of a ruthless terrorist called Castor Troy and Travolta plays Sean Archer, the guy trying to stop him. Once captured, Castor Troy then has his face removed and placed on Archer’s and vice versa. In order to infiltrate Troy’s gang of terrorists, Archer must be like Troy. He must walk like Troy, think like Troy and talk like Troy.
Typical John Woo gun holding stand offs and ridiculous action scenes make this one hell of an awesome ride. Travolta’s performance is solid and Cage gets to let loose on his wild and crazy style of acting. He is outstanding from the beginning and you actually feel terrified by his performance.
Again this is another classic example of Cage giving a two sides performance. Travolta, being quite a method actor, must have studied Cage quite a bit which must have given him a headache; “Yeah, you’re John Travolta playing Nicolas Cage as John Travolta”.
4. Wild at Heart
David Lynch does it again with Wild at Heart. One of the most brutal love stories ever brought to the big screen. With twists and turns and bizarre cameos, this film is a must watch to see some serious Nicolas Cage insanity in action.
Released in 1991 with Twin Peaks in full swing, maybe people just watched it because it had the Lynch name attached to it? But nevertheless it really is amazing. Nicolas cage plays Sailor Ripley, a guy who is intent on taking away his girlfriend Lula Fortune (played by Laura Dern) away from the evil clutches of her wicked stepmother (played by Dianne Ladd).
The story is simple, Dianne Ladd pays a bunch of people, one of which played by Willem Dafoe, to kill Sailor and bring his girlfriend Lula back to her. Cage’s performance here is so terrifying and yet so loving at the same time, it makes you want to fall in love with him but be prepared for a punch. Again another classic example of Cage having two sides to every character. He is electrifying in every scene, making you hang on his every word but also making you flinch because he may lash out at any moment.
This simple story with affective casting make for one hell of a road movie. This is not for the faint hearted but if you want to see Nicolas Cage giving a seriously deranged yet powerful performance, then this is the movie for you. Lynch apparently wrote this as if it were the Wizard of Oz but for adults. The only way to find out the similarities is to go out and see for yourselves.
3. Lord of War
Nicolas Cage really tones it down in this great movie about the powers of arms dealing. Director Andrew Niccol did his homework on what life is like in those countries we very rarely get to see.
Nicolas Cage plays Yuri Orlov, an arms dealer who is seriously starting to question the morality of what he is doing. He thrives on the misery of others and all the money he makes is paid for with spilt blood. As Yuri starts to think enough is enough, his brother Vitaly (played by Jared Leto) starts to make things difficult for Yuri by starting to feel the power and glory his older brother felt when starting out in the business.
Cage and Leto are continuously chased throughout the movie by Ethan Hawke, a government official trying to put an end to what they’re doing but he’s always one step behind them. Cage softened his touch in Lord of War, which gives him a chance to play one role throughout. He does this successfully, making us really want to hate him yet somehow root for him throughout.
It’s not just Cage and Leto’s performances that are the winners here. The story-telling of a world we never get to see really keeps you gripped right until the very last minute. The research that must have gone in to this movie is unfathomable and remarkably scary considering this isn’t a horror or Sci Fi film. It’s really happening!
One of the most bizarre films made in the past 20 years. Nicolas Cage plays Charlie Kaufman, a screenwriter desperately trying to make a film adaptation of the book “The Orchid Thief” written by Susan Orlean (played by Meryl Streep). Charlie bought the rights to the film before the book was even published, assuming that there would be enough substance to fill an entire movie script, sadly there isn’t.
The film takes you on a rollercoaster ride of what it’s like to be a writer and to have deadlines thrown at you from every angle. You may think Charlie has enough on his plate at the moment with trying to fill a rather empty script, but things are a lot worse. Donald, Charlie’s twin brother turns up, trying to plug a script he’s written, making Charlie doubt himself about his ability as a writer and a person in general.
It has a great cast featuring the likes of Tilda Swinton, Chris Cooper but it really gave Cage a chance to shine in to what people now call “Indie Cinema”. His crazy off the wall style of acting really comes into fruition when playing his own twin brother. The whole film gives Cage a chance to shine, showing us that we all have our own demons to face in a harsh world filled with backstabbers, love affairs and family issues.
1. Leaving Las Vegas
This Oscar winning performance for Cage is possibly one of the most beautiful tales of love in one of the sleaziest set ups in the world. Cage plays Ben Sanderson, a washed up Hollywood screenwriter who has lost everything because of his alcoholism. Sanderson decides to have one last blow out, spending all of his money on a hotel room, some vodka and a prostitute called Sera who he befriends (played by Elisabeth Shue).
They form a partnership where Sera realises what the hell is she doing with her life and Sanderson has the same way of thinking. They both come to the conclusion that they’re going to clean up their acts. The ending scene is definitely one the most heart-breaking and tear-jerking scenes in cinema you’ll ever witness. Cage gives the performance of a lifetime in this movie, toning down everything we have seen before which may have been why he won the Oscar. Every scene he is in is purely electrifying.
We finally get a glimpse of what Cage can really do when pushed to the limit. The scenes where he is drinking in the shower whilst driving really encapsulate what alcoholism is like. If you have ever dealt with it yourself or know someone who has, you’ll realise how accurate it really is.
Author Bio: John Mabey is 27 and lives in London England. He has been playing small parts in the acting industry for a number of years but has recently taken time out from acting and taken more time to concentrate on directing and writing.