Cage Examination #17: Deadfall

Film: Deadfall
Demeanor: A cross between Tony Montana and Jim Carrey as The Mask.
Hair Quality: Wig-tastic!
Performance Quality: Infinite Cages.

Deadfall has simultaneously been my most looked forward to and dreaded film on this schedule. The reason to look forward to it is perhaps obvious to any serious Cage fan, but for those less well-versed in obscure Cage-ian lore, Deadfall is, without question, the single greatest example of insane overacting ever captured on film. Cage’s performance in this movie is the stuff of performance art legend. He’s less a character in Deadfall than some demonic presence that wandered in from a completely different movie. His existence is inexplicable and incredible.

The reason I dreaded writing about Deadfall is not because it’s a terrible movie (it is, but so are lots of movies in this feature), but rather because I found the idea of trying to dissect what Nicolas Cage is doing in this movie altogether daunting. Trying to in some way analyze, criticize, or even draw base-level conclusions about Cage’s performance is, at once, terrifying and seemingly pointless, because straight up, I don’t know what he’s doing. I don’t understand it. I have no idea where these line deliveries, all that hysterical shouting, and that purposely awkward wig-and-sunglasses combo came from. Without a real understanding of how these things came to be, I am simply left to sit in awe of them. There is no wrapping my head around Nicolas Cage in Deadfall in much the way there’s no way to really take in the little details of a nuclear explosion. By the time you’ve realized what’s happening in front of you, you’re already toast.

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