This film was previously reviewed in February 2021 as part of our Sundance Film Festival coverage.

Sion Sono’s Prisoners of the Ghostland stars Nicolas Cage as Hero, an infamous bank robber who is sprung from jail by a wealthy warlord, The Governor (Bill Moseley), offering Hero one last a job: finding his granddaughter Bernice (Sofia Boutella) and bringing her back unscathed in exchange for his freedom. 

Considering the mixture of samurais, Western cowboys, ghosts, and a leather-clad Nic Cage riding on a bicycle with an explosive device attached to his crotch, it’s fair to say that this film is downright bizarre and tonally all over the place. A scene that perfectly encompasses this has to be Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle playing during an intense sword fight. The uniqueness it presents through aspects such as the costume and set design should be celebrated, as these truly bring to life the post-apocalyptic world that Sono has created. 

After an utterly unhinged performance in Mandy, the prospect of Cage embodying another wild character was highly anticipated, and this was certainly not met with any disappointment. As expected, Cage manages to elicit tons of laughs even during moments of seriousness through his usual chaotic and gruff demeanour, most notably when he angrily screams “testicles!” at the top of his lungs, an instantly iconic scene. 

Boutella also delivers a knockout performance in this physically demanding role, bringing such strength to Bernice that it’s clear she was never the damsel in distress that needed rescuing, she just needed to be set free.

Prisoners of the Ghostland is a mind-bending experience that blends together Western and Eastern influences to create a strange amalgamation that actually manages to work. Once you accept and embrace its absurdity, you will have a lot of fun.



CAST: Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Nick Cassavetes, Bill Moseley, Tak Sakaguchi, Yuzuka Nakaya


WRITERS: Aaron Hendry, Reza Sixo Safai

SYNOPSIS: A bank robber is sprung from jail by wealthy warlord whose adopted granddaughter has gone missing.