Army of One
Nicolas Cage transforms in Army Of One, the stranger-than-fiction comedy based on the true story of Gary Faulkner, an American media sensation who became known in 2010 for setting off on a solo voyage to Pakistan to try and capture Osama Bin Laden, believing he was on a “mission from God”.
Cage is barely recognisable performing as Faulkner, a manic 50-year-old construction worker with a kidney disease, who requires regular dialysis and appears to have a tiny problem with delusions. Sporting a white beard, glasses, ponytail, comically nasal voice, and scruffy attire, the actor brings the somewhat unbelievable story to life, in a very laugh-out-loud “Nic Cage” kind of way. These points of hilarity are mixed with many cringeworthy and heartbreaking moments, however, as Faulkner’s character flits between being goofy and harmless to being genuinely quite tragic and in need of some looking after.
When American super-patriot Faulkner experiences a vision of God (played here for some reason by Russell Brand) visiting him in hospital, commanding him to go to Pakistan and take down Bin Laden (or “Binny Boy” as he later names him), Gary takes the message very seriously. He informs his friends that he is embarking on a one-man mission to overthrow the infamous terrorist “for justice and stuff”, arms himself with a sword and a hang glider, and then literally sets off without a second thought. It’s not hard to see why this story was made into a film.
Written by Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph, and directed by Larry Charles of Borat, the shameless and messy Army of One features a surprising number of quotes and details from the real Gary Faulkner misadventure. Despite its absurdity, the story is weirdly fascinating and entertaining, especially when portrayed through the hyper and unabashed Cage. Equally, Russell Brand delivers a hilarious performance as the divine being that bosses Faulkner around in a Bruce Almighty-type fashion. Sadly, the movie’s ending feels a little forced, and there are some rather erratic and jumpy cuts between scenes, which could have benefitted from more explanation. However, considering that this is based on a very bizarre real event that defies most logic, if viewers can simply give in to the madness of Army of One, they will likely find themselves enjoying it.
Army of One is released nationwide on 16th December 2016.
Watch the trailer for Army of One here: