Nicolas Cage has taken an avant-garde approach with his latest film, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.” The concept might not sound very authentic and unique on paper, having a reflection of films like “Being John Malkowhich,” but the execution makes sure that the weariness of the screenplay, if any, is quickly worn off.
The most intriguing aspect of “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is that Nicolas Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself named Nick Cage. There are a few elements here and there that are inspired by true events from Cage’s life, but otherwise, it is a totally surrealistic and abstract approach taken by the director to create the character. Of late, the eye-popping, dramatic, and over-the-top performances have led to the “memeification” of the actor on social media. The character of Nick Cage somewhat belongs to that meta world only and is a kind of a rip-off of that public image.
Tom Gormican bends the rules of filmmaking a little bit, to create an unusual screenplay that subverts itself and often states the obvious, extracting humor from it. The writers unleash the third and final act of the screenplay while talking and discussing the possibilities of the same in the second act. The screenplay dismantles the essence of the conflict, justifying it even before it is initiated.
Pedro Pascal, playing Javi Gutierrez, provides the conflicts and takes the screenplay in different directions while peeling the layers of his character slowly. Pedro Pascal and Nicolas Cage are given a free hand in this highly entertaining and absurd comedy that will keep you amused throughout its running time.
In terms of originality and authenticity, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” scores full marks because not only is the concept refreshing but the performances add a tinge of spice to it. The film is not scared to dip into cliche waters at times, but somehow it always manages to make it its own every single time. The viewers might be acquainted with the environment per se, but the concoction of elements residing in that environment and the new possibilities created by them by clashing against one another is totally delightful and has the potential to create a laugh riot.
‘The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent’ Plot Summary
Nick Cage’s acting career was going downhill, and so was his relationship with his daughter and ex-wife. He had met a lot of failures at the box office recently, and it seemed like nobody wanted to work with him. Expenses were on the rise, and channels to procure income were getting blocked one after the other. He is asked to attend a billionaire’s birthday for a whopping sum of one million dollars. But how could an actor of his stature accept such cheap gigs? He knew of other noble ways to earn money. He was after a director who he thought would cast him in his next venture. He had bet everything on that one last chance, but his hopes were shattered when he got the news that he had not been selected for the role. He calls his friend, Richard Fink, and gives a retirement speech, which is audible considering the latter had a bad network. The passion of the melodramatic and emotional speech fizzles out without any spectators or listeners, and Cage collapses on the floor, feeling that he has lost everything. All his life, Nick Cage had been accused by his ex-wife and daughter of being too engrossed in his work and not giving them significance in his life. And now glory had lost its spark, so much that the superstar had to go behind directors to get work. He was ready to keep his ego aside and ask for work, but still, he was entering a dark pit filled with despair and wasn’t seeing any hope of coming out of it. The mound of his debts were growing, and he had to do something to maintain his lifestyle. He accepts the offer to go to the birthday party, unable to find any other way to earn money.
Nick Cage reaches Mallorca, an island in Spain. He had doubts about this businessman who had called him for his birthday and the potential demands he was going to make. He didn’t realize, even for a moment, what he had signed up for. Nick Cage meets Javi Gutierrez, the olive merchant, who is celebrating his 48th birthday. But Javi wasn’t calling him only to attend his birthday. He was writing a screenplay and wanted Mr. Cage to be a part of it. Though he had sent his script to Nick’s manager, that fact was never disclosed to Nick. Javi had planned that Nick would say yes, and then, at his birthday party, he would make the big announcement. But there was a catch. The Central Intelligence Agency was involved in the scheme of things.
Nick was contacted by two CIA agents named Vivan and Martin. They had reason to believe that Javi was the head of a cartel that had kidnapped Maria Delgado, the daughter of the President of Catalonia. Nick couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He had an amazing day with Javi and made memories for a lifetime. He adored him as a person, and Javi worshiped him. He didn’t understand how such an innocent-looking person could commit such a grave offense. Nick Cage hoped that what all he heard about Javi was not true. He saw a friend in Javi. A friend he never had. A friend who shared the same enthusiasm for movies as Cage himself. A conflicting situation is created when Nick Cage accepts to work for the CIA, while Javi Gutierrez puts all his efforts to develop a script from scratch and starts conceptualizing it with Mr. Cage.
Major Spoilers Ahead
The Ending Explained: Did Javi Gutierrez Kidnap Maria Delgado?
Nick needed more time to find Maria in Javi’s fortress. He was constantly getting intel from the two CIA agents, Vivan and Martin. He was trying to breach the boundaries and find Maria. So, to buy time, he told Javi at his birthday party that though he wanted to be a part of the film, the existing screenplay needed to be discarded, and another authentic work of art should be created by putting in the cumulative creative juices of the two. This way, he would get more time on the island and, in turn, would give himself an opportunity to look out for Maria.
Javi had created a museum where he kept all the artifacts from Cage’s movies that he had bought at different auctions. His choices in movies were quite similar to those of Cage, and he was successful in convincing Cage that Paddington 2 was indeed a masterpiece. Javi feels that Nicolas somewhere bears the guilt of not being there for his daughter. He saw himself as a failed father, which in turn blocked his creativity. To remove the creative block, he thought it would be helpful to call Nick Cage’s daughter and ex-wife to the island. Now Nick saw it as a threat, as he had a whole conspiracy going on in the back of his mind because of the intel given by the CIA. Javi’s cousin, Lucas called him out to talk and discuss an important matter. That’s when we came to know that it was actually Lucas who had kidnapped Maria. Lucas knew that Cage was working for the CIA and gave Javi the responsibility to get rid of him.
Javi Gutierrez did belong to a family that ran a cartel, but he was only the face of it. He was an artist and didn’t meddle in family affairs. Lucas handled the business and was in charge of the illegal activities. Javi has a hilarious confrontation scene with Nick where he admits everything. He promises to guard Nick’s family and take them out of the island alive at all costs. Javi was always dominated by his cousin Lucas. He knew that in order to stop him, he had to stand against him. He did that and even took a bullet for his favorite actor, who was now his best friend too.
Nick escapes the island with his family and the kidnapped Maria Delgado. Javi completes the screenplay, and Nick finally stars in the movie after the hiatus he was coerced to take. Desires are fulfilled, and aspirations turn into reality when Javi attends the success party of the film, while Cage skips it to spend quality time with his family and watch Paddington 2 with them.
Nicholas Cage is exceptional in his role as an actor who is tired of the insecurities and vulnerabilities of the profession. Pedro Pascal, as Javi Gutierrez, is given a free hand to go berserk. You see him taking the character to uncharted territories and having the time of his life. It is delightful to watch him and Cage bouncing off energy from one another and uplifting the effectiveness of even averagely written scenes. The most entertaining pick of the lot would be a scene where the best friends consume drugs and chart the narrative, its plausibility, and the turns and twists of their upcoming film. It is so fascinatingly ludicrous that you cannot help but admire the clever writing. “The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent” is conceptually recognizable, but its outlook is such that it gives it a distinctive tinge. It’s surely worth a watch.
“The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent” is a 2022 action comedy film directed by Tom Gormican.