As a recent episode of NBC’s Community explored, Nicolas Cage is a very difficult actor to peg down. His career is filled with tremendous performances, from his Oscar-winning role in Leaving Las Vegas to bruisingly funny turns in Adaptation, Raising Arizona and Matchstick Men. At the same time, his filmography is filmed with oddities and schlock that could have wrecked any other actor’s career (need I say more than The Wicker Man remake?). Now, fans of Cage should be content that he is drawing raves once again, for David Gordon Green’s drama Joe, which received an overwhelmingly positive reception at 2013′s Venice and Toronto film festivals.
A new trailer for the film landed today, giving us a first look at the incredible range that Cage can display when he really sinks his teeth into a role. If the wealth of praise shown near the trailer’s end is any indication, the actor is as good as he has ever been. The praise also indicates that Joe could be a big indie boost for Cage, akin to last year’s similarly-themed Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey.
Mud is certainly the first film that comes to mind when considering Joe, for more reasons than just its apparent bid to reignite an actor’s career. The two dramas share a three-letter title, a protagonist with a mysterious life of crime, a grizzled rural setting and magnetic teen actor Tye Sheridan (The Tree of Life).
Joe looks like a return to form not only for Cage but also for another man: writer/director David Gordon Green. Green was one of the most exciting American indie filmmakers about 10 years ago, after the critical success of George Washington and All the Real Girls. However, like Cage, he also became involved with projects he likely wishes he could wipe from his record (Your Highness).
When Joe comes out in theatres on April 11, we will see if Green and Cage are indeed on the path to redeeming their polarizing careers.