When a devastating illness threatens to end Evan Lake's career in the C.I.A., he goes rogue to hunt down a terrorist who tortured him during a mission gone awry years ago.When a devastating illness threatens to end Evan Lake's career in the C.I.A., he goes rogue to hunt down a terrorist who tortured him during a mission gone awry years ago.When a devastating illness threatens to end Evan Lake's career in the C.I.A., he goes rogue to hunt down a terrorist who tortured him during a mission gone awry years ago.
Mostly just underwhelming
The big story associated with this film is that its director, Paul Schrader, was locked out of the editing room and denied final cut. Subsequently, Schrader and the stars have disowned this version. However, despite their reaction out of principle, DYING OF THE LIGHT isn't that terrible. It's merely underwhelming. Nicolas Cage gives a decent performance as Evan Lake, a veteran CIA agent with recently diagnosed dementia. Upon receiving some intelligence which indicates that a former target may still be alive, he decides to go after them before his disease puts him out of commission permanently. At its core, this film has an interesting concept that is never fully realized to its full thematic potential: two nemeses have one final reckoning while each are battling a debilitating disease. From what I saw, Nicolas Cage put in some good character work, and even gets to "rage" a little bit, but he was still hampered by an editing job that seemed to be going for a more streamlined thriller. Due to this, it felt like there was a fair amount of character development missing, mostly from supporting players but also from Cage himself. His disease doesn't take as big of a role as you might think, given its severity. As far as the rest of the cast is concerned, everyone did a good job but they really weren't given a whole lot to work with. Anton Yelchin was the only other name actor I recognized, and his presence seemed rather perfunctory. Perhaps he would have had a larger role in Paul Schrader's cut, but we'll probably never know unless it gets released on Blu-ray/DVD. All of the technical aspects of the film were good, although it did have the rather depressing color palette associated with low-budget Eastern European thrillers. The editing in the fight scenes was a bit choppy, but the camera-work was OK for the most part otherwise. The score also wasn't too memorable, but it still fit the material to a degree. The only part of it I genuinely liked was the track that played over the closing credits. Overall, I wasn't expecting a masterpiece and of course I didn't get one. However, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be either, somewhat to its detriment. Scenes began and then ended without much incident and didn't contribute much to the overall story. A part of me wished that it was worse because at least then it would be memorable. What I got was purely middle-of-the-road and, dare I say it, a little dull. Those looking for a fired-up Nicolas Cage performance should look elsewhere. You'd be perfectly justified in skipping this.
- Dec 29, 2014
Contribute to this page
Suggest an edit or add missing content