As you’d expect from a career that dates back almost 40 years, Nicolas Cage has experienced plenty of ups and downs when it comes to critical acclaim. He may have an Academy Award win for Best Actor under his belt and a string of memorable performances in a number of genres, but he’s also starred in his fair share of duds.
For a while, it looked as though Cage would never escape from the VOD doldrums that became his bread and butter, churning out countless instantly forgettable action thrillers on a regular basis. While that’s still true to a certain extent, in the last couple of years he’s started taking much bigger swings than he has in a long time.
That desire to lean into the unexpected has brought us wild psychological thriller Mandy, ludicrous sci-fi martial arts film Jiu Jitsu, the upcoming and completely bonkers supernatural story Prisoners of the Ghostland, haunted amusement park horror Willy’s Wonderland and next year’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, where he plays a fictionalized version of himself roped into a CIA and drug cartel conspiracy after agreeing to appear at a millionaire’s birthday party.
His most recent effort is lo fi drama Pig, which features one of the best turns Cage has ever given, and critics have responded in kind. A 96% Rotten Tomatoes score makes it the best-reviewed live-action movie he’s ever been in, just behind the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Let’s not forget that Cage has also lent his singular talents to no less than nine projects to have scored under 10% on the aggregation site, so Pig flying so high could be a sign that a full-blown renaissance is on the cards at last.