The Horror Honeys: With Great Power Comes Lust for More Power...

With Great Power Comes Lust for More Power...

A Revenge Honey New Release Review by Linnie

The Runner (2015)

Now, before we move forward, let me make one thing perfectly clear: Austin Stark's The Runner is NOT a horror film. It is a not a science fiction film, nor is it a thriller, or a monster movie. The Runner is a good, old-fashioned political drama, and while it may seem out of place at the Horror Honeys, as the resident Nicolas Cage super-fan... I DO WHAT I WANT!

That being said, The Runner might be the most layered, subtle, and relevant film Nicolas Cage has made in about five, if not ten, years. And while not perfect, join me for the utterly surprising experience that is Austin Stark's The Runner.

The Story: Set during the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, idealistic Louisiana congressman Colin Price (Cage) sees his promising career derailed by a sex scandal. Even as Price tries to redeem himself by helping the people of New Orleans bounce back from yet another epic disaster, those around him, including his wife (Connie Nielsen), his aging ex-politician father (Peter Fonda), and his political consultant (Sarah Paulson) prove that the road to redemption is not an easy one. Can Price become the man he hoped to be? And does he even know who that is?

Hollywood has long been releasing political dramas, and from Advise and Consent to Three Days of the Condor, you can find a film to act as an artifact for almost every era of American politics. In the last decade, things have be rough for the Gulf Coast of the US, and the time had obviously come for a film to truly address the corporate and political corruption surrounding the BP disaster. In terms of acting as a political artifact for that fraught time, The Runner succeeds. Through Colin Price, we see the economic and personal turmoil that was heaped on the people of Louisiana, but we also see the ways in which corporations and politicians still used the disaster for their own personal gains. Even at the worst of times, there will always be those who try and benefit from others' pain, and Stark's (admittedly not totally original, but still compelling) script doesn't pull any punches on that front.

From a performance standpoint, if you go into The Runner looking for crazy Nic Cage, you're going to be disappointed. This is a good thing. As Colin Price, Cage is at his most measured, emotionally and physically, that he's been in years. Many of Cage's recent films have been set in New Orleans, and it's obvious he has a real passion for the people and the city. It is here, when he is trying to bring a voice to their struggle and remind people that even five years later, that struggle persists, that he is at his best. Sure, his southern accent falters from time to time, and he goes a little "crazy-eyed Cage" in the end, but I am thrilled at the prospect that we may be getting pre-"I need to pay for my sharks" Nicolas Cage back at last.

The supporting cast of The Runner is really stellar as well. Sarah Paulson brings quiet conflict to the role of Price's political advisor/love interest, and Connie Nielsen is doing her best Lady Macbeth as Price's power-hungry wife. And Peter Fonda (whose father Henry starred in Advise and Consent, Fail Safe, and many other classic political films) brings his usual gravitas to his smaller part as Price's father, a man confronting his own mortality.

In an attempt to keep this review spoiler-free, I shall stop here. But I will say, Stark makes a bold choice to end The Runner cynical. But as things stand in America today, can you really blame him?

Revenge Honey Rating: 4 good intentions out of 5

NCPS Rating: Category One and a Half ~ Only a trickle of crazy rain threatens to derail this otherwise solidly calm Category One performance

Will you be seeing The Runner when it opens on August 7, 2015?
Tell me on Twitter: @linnieloowho