Colour Out of Space (2019)



Nicolas Cage, you seem to have made your way out the other side of the Hollywood leading man stereotype and into something rather delightful.

I shouldn’t be surprised. I first saw you in Valley Girl (1983), a quotable romcom where you play punk Randy to Debra Foreman’s Julie, the valley girl of the title. Not an auspicious start but then there was Birdy (1984), which I was dragged to by a Genesis-obsessed boyfriend because the score was by Peter Gabriel. I remember complaining the whole way there that a score was not a reason to see a film and then eating humble pie on the way home because it was so good. At the time there were stories of your method acting, your total immersion in a role and we could see you were a serious actor.

You had some meaty roles after that, even won an Oscar, but then a string of big budget action films cast you as the big, white, wholesome, ruthless American hero. It was a fun ride for awhile but I think it was around The Family Man (2000) that I felt you had lost your way. Without that, though, we wouldn’t have the Cage of Mandy (2018) and Colour Out of Space, the knowing, delirious parody of your action hero persona.

Colour Out of Space is based on an H.P. Lovecraft story and the goth fan girls and boys on IMDb are divided as to whether this adaptation is a travesty or a triumph. Nathan (Cage) lives with ailing wife Theresa (Joely Richardson), prickly daughter Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) and sons Benny (Brendan Meyer) and Jack (Julian Hilliard) in an idyllic rural mansion. They have alpacas. The property has been inherited from Nathan’s father so we know they are privileged and a bit clueless.

Everything changes one night when a magenta light blasts through their house and an object, that might be a meteorite, lands in the garden. From here on it becomes a lurid, frantic and suspenseful horror sci-fi as the family try to save themselves from an unknown invasion. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but there are some genuinely emotional moments where you ponder how you might have reacted in this kind of situation. Cage is delightful, subtly satirising a metrosexual hipster who suddenly has to go into survival mode.

And the alpacas. Don’t forget the alpacas.

Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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