Plenty of pieces appear in place for Nicolas Cage’s “Running With the Devil.”
The plot centers on drug cartels, always a timely topic. Plus, a cast of “name” stars support Cage, who increasingly lets himself off the chain.
Seriously, if you haven’t done so yet, check out “Mandy.”
Yet despite these strong elements, and capable direction, we don’t end up with an engaging picture. The cast is given little to do, the movie feels small despite various international locales and Cage is restrained the entire running time.
What we get served by writer/director Jason Cabell is a story with multiple plots that gradually tie together, and while we can see how these will interact by the end it still feels disjointed.
Even worse, there’s nothing particularly new in the telling of how cocaine is produced, trafficked and ultimately sold in the U.S. What we end up with is a film that’s broad in scope but narrow in what it reveals.
Adding to the generic feel is that the cast is comprised only by character traits; nobody is named, everyone is The Boss, The Agent, The Executioner, etc.
Jason Cabell’s RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL starring Nicolas Cage is NOW available on demand!
Apple TV: https://t.co/VSUOZowrxF
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Amazon Video: https://t.co/pp9CKwSZcq#RunningWithTheDevil pic.twitter.com/4eh9eVNv5E
— NicolasCageOnFire (@CageOnFire) September 20, 2019
We begin with Cage, playing The Cook. He plies his trade as a restaurant chef, but it’s a front for his real job as an executive in a professionally run drug circuit in the pacific northwest. He’s approached by the head of the outfit (Barry Pepper) who is becoming frustrated with their shipments being skimmed, and their street product being cut with other substances.
Cage’s Cook is sent to Columbia to follow through the traffic chain to find out where the product is being compromised. We also meet Lawrence Fishburne, a middle-aged street hustler and drug pusher who is teamed with Adam Goldberg. We also have Leslie Bibb heading the law enforcement agents attempting to get a hold on the traffickers, and we even see the family in Columbia that is farming and refining the cocoa in Columbia.
All of this is competently made, well shot and decently performed, but none of it is truly compelling. Even if these are all story elements we have been treated to before this is a cast that should elevate the material.
Nobody is given much to work with here.
Instead we get a by-the-numbers procedural offering nothing new. An international setting manages to feel like a lower-budget small screen offering, and an impressive cast doesn’t leave an impression.
You get the sense “Running With the Devil” could have been an arresting set piece, except it’s arrives disassembled and we’re not given the instructions to put everything together.