Prisoners of the Ghostland
Directed by cult icon Sion Sono and starring Nicolas Cage in a joyously Cage-esque performance, Prisoners of the Ghostland serves up that special kind of absurdity in which anything can happen next. It’s equal parts insane, puzzling and mesmerisng. This is simply one of those films that needs to be seen to be believed.
The plot sees a bank robber known only as Hero (Cage) released from prison by a southern gentleman dressed in a white cowboy outfit. This is The Governor (Bill Moseley), and he wants Hero to journey into the wastelands outside the boundaries of the samurai-meets-cowboy town to rescue his granddaughter (Sofia Boutella). And to give him some extra incentive to complete the job, he locks him in a snug leather suit armed with explosives placed in tactical locations which are designed to explode if he attempts to remove the suit, fails to complete his task within a certain time, or gets handsy with the granddaughter. However, more mysteries and secrets are revealed upon arrival at the titular Ghostland.
Sono and Cage are a match made in the maddest level of heaven. The flick oozes giddy, pulpy style from beginning to end and showcases eye-popping cinematography from Sôhei Tanikawa that sucks viewers into every frame. Samurai, cowboys, zombies and a dystopian cult are just the tip of the iceberg of weirdness to expect as the script dives head-first into the wider mystery at play. Towards the latter part of the second half, however, the pacing hits a snag as the bombastic energy which drove the opening begins to run out of steam. But before Sano’s latest offering starts to overstay its welcome, the filmmaker throws something else in to grab our attention and shift events back into high gear.
Bloody sword fights, oddball characters and Cage screaming expletives at the top of his lungs are just some of the highlights viewers can expect to see in Prisoners of the Ghostland. Though it may be somewhat of an acquired taste, this feature delivers a whirlwind of creative lunacy which only this duo could conceive.
Prisoners of the Ghostland is released in select cinemas on 17th September 2021.
Watch the trailer for Prisoners of the Ghostland here: