Nicolas Cage is a fantastic actor. I will be the first to admit that he has had some mistakes (“Face/Off” and “Snake Eyes”, to name a few), but for the most part, his performances are gutsy and honest, with just a hint of cool 60’s Rat Pack style smoldering underneath the surface. My favorite Cage performance came in the fantastic film “Leaving Las Vegas”, where he brought the struggles of a dying alcoholic to life in beautiful and tragic detail.
Unfortunately, “Sonny” is no “Leavi…g Las Vegas”. The problems with Cage’s directorial debut are so plentiful that it would not even be practical to attempt to list them all. The acting is bad, (save a touching performance by Harry Dean Stanton) the music is bad, the camera work is bad, and even the accents are bad (yet fairly accurate).
The moral of the story is that life is hard, no matter where you are. Prostitutes and Accountants, Pimps and Bankers… all lives come with problems. It’s how you deal with them that makes all the difference. It’s a great moral, but the tale is told in such a way that it’s hard to accept it without a groan.
I was thoroughly unimpressed with the Dolby Digital 5.1 track on this title. Among my various complaints is that the volume cues seem to be nothing short of schizophrenic. Dialog and sound effects are soft, but many of the (very odd) music cues are loud and sudden. Nothing about this film is subtle, including the soundtrack.
This film does not translate well to the silver disc when it comes to video. The scenes are much too bright, and come across with a washed-out quality. What’s more, there are occasional “pops” on the screen here and there. Perhaps the most startling problem with the video, however, comes from both frame jumps and the occasional out-of-focus shot. This is not a problem that you find often in modern film, and I was quite surprised to find it here.
Standard Trailers and Cast and Crew Bios are available as special features on this disc. Also here is a trailer for “Poolhall Junkies” (a film that I wish I had the opportunity to review instead of this one). Rounding out the extras are two commentaries; a bland one with Cage, and a much more interesting one with writer John Carlen.
You know how some movies are so bad it’s funny? This is not one of those movies. Run. Run from this DVD at all costs.
Special Features List
- Commentary With Director Nicolas Cage and Producer Norm Golightly
- Commentary With Writer John Carlen
- Cast and Crew Bios
- Theatrical Trailer
- “Poolhall Junkies” Trailer