‘Prisoners of the Ghostland’ Review: Nicolas Cage Gets Wild in This Heavily Stylized Genre Mashup [Sundance 2021]
Posted on Monday, February 1st, 2021 by Ben Pearson
Think back to your time in elementary school. Think about that one kid in your class who snorted Pixie Stix, constantly drank way too much soda, ran circles around everyone else at recess, and maybe even inspired some awe at his seemingly boundless amounts of energy. That kid’s actions were always so far removed from the traditional behavior of you and your peers that he may as well have been an alien, dropped into your school as some sort of bizarre social experiment.
If that kid were a movie, he’d be Prisoners of the Ghostland, filmmaker Sion Sono‘s unhinged new genre mashup which combines elements of classic westerns, samurai movies, John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle, George Miller’s Mad Max, and more. This spastic burst of cinematic energy is the type of film that gleefully embraces the knowledge that it will gain absolutely zero traction outside the midnight movie crowd. But while there are a couple of Nicolas Cage freakout scenes, the rest of Prisoners of the Ghostland may end up being a little too cryptic for casual genre fans looking to kick back and have a good time.
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