‘Prisoners of the Ghostland’ Film Review: Nicolas Cage Grimaces and Bears It Through Baffling Genre Mishmash

‘Prisoners of the Ghostland’ Film Review: Nicolas Cage Grimaces and Bears It Through Baffling Genre Mishmash
This review of “Prisoners of the Ghostland” was first published after the film’s January 2021 premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

Prolific and wildly eccentric Japanese auteur Sion Sono has spent most of his career at the dizzying point at which arthouse bravado meets grindhouse gonzo, and his best films stretch the limits of narrative so far as to leave viewers simultaneously gobsmacked and exhilarated. It’s perhaps inevitable that he would cross paths with Nicolas Cage, an actor whose post-Oscar film choices have tended to veer into the grimiest edges of genre, resulting in a very mixed bag of delights and duds.

One might have hoped that “Prisoners of the Ghostland” — Sono’s English-language debut, starring Cage, and making its world premiere at Sundance — would have elevated Cage to Sono’s level, but unfortunately, it’s done the opposite. While the film far outshines most of Cage’s recent
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