Although, lest we forget, he won an Oscar for his wrenching performance in Leaving Las Vegas, since then—and before then, to be honest—Nicolas Cage has seemed intent on taking that legacy, grasping it tightly in his foaming jaws, and violently shaking it like a dog trying to rip out the squeaky guts of a favorite chew toy. That’s why The A.V. Club has one eyebrow archly raised at the news that Cage has signed on to direct his second feature film, the upcoming “independent thriller” Vengeance: A Love Story.
The trepidation isn’t based on the premise of Nicolas Cage directing a movie, per se. In fact, with the right material, that ol’ Cage crazy could produce something really fun. This doesn’t sound like that material, though: Based on a 2003 novel by Joyce Carol Oates titled Rape: A Love Story, the film takes place in the wake of the brutal gang rape of a young single mother; the victim’s young daughter is called upon to provide eyewitness testimony at the trial, where her credibility is systematically attacked. (Cage has already signed on to play a police officer who becomes the girl’s champion.) And if there’s one thing a heartbreaking dissection of rape culture needs, it’s some good old-fashioned Nicolas Cage histrionics.
To be fair, Cage could surprise us. We’ll just leave the trailer for his first directorial effort, Sonny, below, and let you make the call on that.