With SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL, director Yuval Adler (THE SECRETS WE KEEP) teams up with debut feature writer Luke Paradise and cinematographer Steven Holleran to create a stylish, unabashedly nasty, almost Grindhouse thriller. I suspect your tolerance for the film is going to be dependent on how far you enjoy Nic Cage being insane, and whether you enjoy a pastiche of Tarantino pastiching the ultraviolet revenge thriller genre. But for me, this taut 90 minute two-hander is impressive in its commitment to a simple, brutal, story.
The film opens with Joel Kinnaman's uber driver going to see his pregnant wife give birth, driving through the dark neon-lit streets of off-strip Vegas. Barely a beat passes and he is carjacked by Nic Cage with luminous red hair and a large gun. What then transpires is a talky, occasionally hilarious, sinister, twisty thriller. The title of the film is some kind of hint, but who really is the devil? We get two superb set-pieces. The first, a fantastic diner scene that can only be described as Peak Cage. The second, an incredibly stylish shoot out that delivers smoky burnt orange skies and a hellscape that felt supernatural and sinister in a way that deeply impressed me.
This is a small low/no release film that will really repay your efforts in seeking it out.
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL has a running time of 90 minutes and is rated R. It opened in the USA in late July and is now available to stream on demand in the UK.