Fantasia 2023: Our Review of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’

Posted in Fantasia 2023, Festival Coverage, Movies by - July 23, 2023
Fantasia 2023: Our Review of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’

There’s a shot early on in Sympathy for the Devil, the latest Nic Cage vehicle, where his Passenger character looks out The Driver’s (Joel Kinnaman) car window and sees the words TRAUMA emblazoned in red on the hospital wing. It’s a slight insert shot that informs the entirety of director Yuval Adler’s text; this is a film about trauma and the response to it.

When I discovered that one of the major gets for this year’s edition of Fantasia Film Festival was going to the be the latest from Nic Cage, I was hesitant. My Nic Cage is Knowing Nic Cage, a version of the ever-mutating actor that centers around when he was something of a star. Was he still his usual over-the-top self? Yes, absolutely.

I’m less enamoured with the present version of Nic Cage, a loud, caricaturesque version of the guy from the College Humor sketch who wanted to play a Nazi that can only speak in adverbs. Somewhere, Nic Cage became everything that everyone had joked about.

Sympathy for the Devil works along the lines of the later stage of its star’s career, with small glimpses of the former. Most of the film’s run time consists of The Passenger asking The Driver to do something, As you can probably guess, this results in many choice one liners that Cage fans will be gleefully adding to the pantheon of his work. Otherwise, the film is a bit slog like till its 3rd act where the film ramps up its mystery. If I can be certain regarding exactly one thing about Sympathy for the Devil, it’s this: when the film starts to offer up a human response to its trauma infused background, is when I really start to get sympathy for the devil.

This post was written by
Thomas Wishloff is currently an MA student at York University. He is new to the Toronto Film Scene, but has periodically written and podcasted for several now defunct ventures, and has probably commented on a forum with you at some point. The ex-Edmontonian has been known to enjoy a good board game, and claims to know the secret to the best popcorn in the world.
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