Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021) Poster

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What on Earth did I Just Watch?
scottmannen114 September 2021
This is a really weird film. The main premise is understandable, but the rest of what happens in this movie makes literally no sense. I watched this for Nick Cage, and of course Cage does a good job acting his part, but everyone else not so much. 5/10.
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Tried very hard to be a cool, bizarre, weird, crazy, surrealist, neo-western, horror n action movie but failed badly. Boring movie with one of the worst screenplay.
Fella_shibby18 September 2021
I am a fan of Nic Cage n i love the above mentioned genres but this one is beyond redemption.

Trust me and save ur precious time.

In our hindi language we call such kinda atrocious movies CHUTIYAPA.
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Why Nicholas
srjcochrane14 September 2021
This emphasises the issue that Cage has in selecting scripts that must have been written on toilet paper. This was just crap. Don't waste you time.
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WTF is this ?
abisio17 September 2021
Without any doubts; Nic Cage and Sofia Boutella could not fail. Well it fails awfully. Please pay attention; I am not drunk There is a mix of Western, Kabuki theater, Mad Max (?) and the movie itself looks like old Roman Theater with chorus, and signs explaining history. There is also some kind of Ghost in the middle.

Nothing really makes any sense; stages have a naïve style like in 60s movies, acting is unbearable (Cage seems to be fooling around). The rest are cartoonish.

Sofia Boutella tries but it is impossible for her to save this mess.

If you see the comedy "The Play that went wrong" well is basically the same but without any comedy intent.

Sion Sono has made some interesting movies in his country Japan and perhaps this have some kind of cultural meaning; but in America is just shamefully absurd for everybody including the viewers.

Do not lose your time unless you have to see it to believe it.
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Only for Nicolas Cage
zameerpro14 September 2021
If you want to spend some time with a 2021 Nicolas Cage vehicle, please check out "Pig," which despite that odd title is actually one of the best films of the year and serves as reminder of how great Cage can be with the right material.

Despite the director's ambitious vision, there is simply so much that feels reminiscent of the Mad Max franchise. I really wanted to love this film, but I didn't. If you're a Cage fan, Prisoners of the Ghostland is worth a look.
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I wish I washed the dishes instead
vinnypatel-8936514 September 2021
What was this movie!! Give me a refund for my time to watch this, I could have had better entertainment washing the dishes after dinner.
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neckthrust17 September 2021
Genre-bending, yes. But somehow finds a way to ruin each individual genre they play with. Utterly nonsensical plot, weak effects, not a single likable character, horrid dialogue, and some pretty atrocious lighting don't make for a great movie watching experience.
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When you're on laced shrooms and bad LSD at a Burning Man festival in a Japanese desert.
Top_Dawg_Critic23 September 2021
That was director Sion Sono's vision, and he did not disappoint putting it on film.

However, having actors-turned-wannabe-writers Aaron Hendry and Reza Sixo Safai with barely to no writing experience come up with this screenplay, was wackadoodle. I got annoyed with the number of production companies displayed in the opening credits, you'd think at least one would've invested in a seasoned writer to at least look over the final script. Safi and Hendry wrote a bunch of incoherent, convoluted, plot-hole and technical-issue riddled nonsense.

The 103 min runtime, sub-par pacing, and many long dragged out and unnecessary scenes, made this film seem like it was 3+ hours long.

Luckily, with Sono's directing and Sohei Tanikawa's near-perfect cinematography, the eye-candy sets, crazy costumes and props, and stunning visuals kept me hooked. The score was fitting and on point. The casting and performances were excellent, especially Nicolas Cage (who this role was made for) and Sofia Boutella.

It's a shame no one babysat the writers, as this could've easily been a cult classic. But as is, I'm thinking this would've been a much better music video backdrop for Pink Floyd or Metallica album. It's a very generous 6/10 from me.
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Never, Never Before In My life
diarkosophy17 September 2021
I'm going to start off looking at the 10 star reviews. I just don't understand how anyone could be so positive about this movie. I felt like I was in a Redlettermedia's "Best of the Worst". Never have I laughed so much and so hard at parts of a film that I did not think were intentionally funny. Never have I ever face palmed so many times or had to stop a movie due to pure confusion. Not confusion due to complexity or something like that but due to wondering "why" as in why did the filmmaker chose any of this? This film is astonishingly absurd and not in a good way.

There was one scene that just screamed Mandy and low and behold this film is from the makers of Mandy. I did not like Mandy, Pig, tolerated Willie's Wonderland and skipped Color Out of Space. I'm coming to the conclusion that I just don't like Cage or his acting anymore. I don't really blame him though. The Rock, Con Air and Face Off will always be classics to me but this is pure grade A nonsense. I never put spoilers in my reviews but for this film I just have to mention something that happens in the begin that really doesn't spoil anything but if you are adverse this is your spoiler alert. Cage is given a car to go on his timed quest. He gets out of the car and takes a beat-up bike and everyone thinks he is so cool. At this point I thought the film was going to be intentionally funny and self aware. Nope, he gets about a hundred feet and is stopped by someone who throws him the keys to the same car. He than drives the car...What!? I am still so baffled.

Anyways this is getting too long so if you like films that focus on Asian culture, Cage, decent scenery and camera work you might enjoy this more than me but I think I'm being way too generous giving this a 4. I laughed so much. I just, I just don't understand. Why? Why to everything.
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Wild and unique
JasonMcFiggins1 February 2021
Nicolas Cage. Seems like that's all it takes to garner instant interest in a film, as the actor has achieved living legend status in the eyes of many genre fans (and for good reason). In his latest, Prisoners of the Ghostland, Cage plays Hero, a ruthless, imprisoned bank robber set free by a wealthy warlord known as The Governor (Bill Moseley, even more to get excited about), and tasked with finding The Governor's kidnapped "granddaughter", Bernice (Sofia Boutella, always exciting, in more ways than one). Taking place in the post-apocalyptic Samurai Town, Cage's Hero is strapped in a leather suit set to self-destruct in 5 days, including detonators located in the vicinity of each testicle (testicuule, The Governor pronounces it), and encounters gunslingers, ghosts, samurai, and a crazed cult. The film puts Cage in an Escape From New York meets Big Trouble in Little China scenario, and the end result is a movie just as wild as you would imagine, an enormously entertaining adrenaline rush that brings the Cage Rage.

Once the film is set up and our Hero is on his journey, the film has plenty of unexpected laughs and is very funny at times. It almost works as a spoof of the Western, action genre. "What a badass," "he's so cool," say a couple of awestruck onlookers as Hero chooses a dainty bicycle with a basket instead of the black sports car when he leaves on his journey. He does eventually end up with he car because, tick tock, the clock is ticking on that deadly leather jumpsuit.

While looking for Bernice, Hero is lead to a torched, windswept landscape with crumbling mannequins swaying back and forth, cracked and broken shells that conceal prisoners inside of them. Every turn in this world holds a different danger, a threat to end Hero's life at any moment. And all of this is handled with such confidence by director Sion Sono, creating a thrilling and playful and insane world of filthy neon. Imagine Mad Max as a supernatural Samurai Western.

In the middle of all this madness is Nicolas Cage, wonderfully off the wall and right at home in such a place. It feels as though the film was inspired by Cage's reputation playing odd characters, giving the film a match-made-in-heaven quality. If Cage gives Prisoners of the Ghostland it's unlikely (anti) hero, it's Sofia Boutella as Bernice who gives the movie its glimmer of hope. It's Bernice we root for as she's the possibility for a brighter future in the Ghostland. What an exquisite performance from Boutella alongside the scene stealing Cage.

There's a religious-like fixation on time in the Ghostland. The inhabitants hold the giant clock displayed on the bones-like structure of an old capital building at 8:14, fearing if it hits 8:15 the atomic blasts will once again wreak havoc. The people who live under The Governor refer to him as a clock, as time itself. In the Ghostland, everyone is a prisoner to a forgotten existence, to a lifestyle lost. Time has vanished for the prisoners of the Ghostland, only recognizable in the form of their rulers. This fixation with time really pushes Hero's race against the clock to the forefront, as well as any hope the future of the Ghostland has left.

Prisoners of the Ghostland presents a unique vision from filmmaker Sion Sono ( it would make for a great double feature with Ana Lily Amirpour's The Bad Batch). A bloody, dirty, balls to the wall, gorgeous looking blast of color, chaos, and redemption in a land of hopelessness. Nicolas Cage leans into his Nicolas Cage persona, Bill Moseley has fun as a smooth talking, white suit wearing cowboy, and Sofia Boutella steals the show with a subdued, beautifully heartfelt performance. Big time entertainment, Prisoners of the Ghostland is a must see.
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This movie makes no sense and I got exactly what I came for!
nickjo199816 April 2021
Nicolas Cage and Sion Sono are a match made in heaven and it shows in this crazy, surrealist, Neo-Western, Kabuki ghost story.

Cage & Sono's styles mix perfectly, complimenting the bizarre yet seamless amalgamation of traditional Japanese & American culture into one world where somehow nothing feels out of place no matter how much absurd stuff is thrown at the wall.
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Sundance 2021: Prisoners of the Ghostland is as crazy as one would expect from a movie starring Nicolas Cage... and I love crazy!
msbreviews5 February 2021
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Nonsensical. Absurd. Ridiculous. Just plain stupid. These words usually serve to describe an incredibly awful movie that I try to forget forever and ever. However, some extremely rare pieces of absolutely crazy filmmaking are also characterized by the adjectives above, offering me the most entertaining time I can possibly ask for. An example of this case is Prisoners of the Ghostland. It's exceptionally dumb, follows a narrative completely devoid of any logic, and mixes up dozens of many genres by using different costumes, all sorts of epic scores, and character archetypes.

Boasting an impressive production and set design (major Hollywood studios should be envious), Sion Sono offers the audience precisely what they expect from a film starring the maddest actor alive, Nicolas Cage. From the well-choreographed, well-edited, explosively bloody, hilarious action sequences to the infinite storylines, the viewers either accept whatever lunatic plot point or device the movie throws at the audience, or this is going to be a festival of pointing out what's wrong with the whole film. Prophecies, nuclear wars, zombies, samurais, cowboys... every generic development and formulaic characters we always see in every genre are present in this amalgam of pure chaos.

As expected, Cage shines in another role that will probably generate thousands of new memes, but this time Sofia Boutella and Bill Moseley also deliver two captivating performances that kept me invested when Cage was out. The only problem I have with this type of movie is the balance of the whole craziness. I don't mind every single minute being packed with utterly ludicrous stuff, but when it starts getting genuinely confusing, that's when it becomes too much for me to handle. Nevertheless, as long as you keep your mind open and focus on the protagonist's main mission - and solely on that - you'll be able to enjoy this movie as much or more than I did.

Prisoners of the Ghostland is everything a film starring Nicolas Cage is expected of being. Possessing technical attributes of making the biggest Hollywood studios shamelessly hide with envy, Sion Sono's movie is as illogical, absurd, ridiculous, stupid, and insanely entertaining as I hoped it would be. By mixing up dozens of distinct genres, the straightforward premise gets sucked into a world of total anarchy, where samurais, cowboys, nuclear explosions, modern cars, and much more collide to surround an otherwise simple narrative with nonsensically hilarious storylines and awesome action sequences. Sofia Boutella and Bill Moseley help Cage tackle this chaos, but the latter is the absolute standout due to his remarkable experience in crazy films. Despite it occasionally crossing the line and becoming too much for me to manage - it becomes seriously confusing - as long as the viewers are well-prepared to accept every jaw-dropping new development, fun is guaranteed with this brilliant satire.

Rating: A-
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Can't say I enjoyed it
Gordon-1131 October 2021
The story of "Prisoners of the Ghostland" is poorly explained, and I don't really understand it. Visuals are strange, bordering on bizarre. I can't say I enjoyed it.
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No art, no action, no plot
edgy-827-48696513 September 2021
This is a gem of false advertising, because this is NOT action movie and even not a good example of imaginative out of boundaries festival cinema. This is epic some how, yes - EPIC FAIL. Actually this film is just small production artsy-fartsy wonnabe retro-otaku-western-art-hause made like in TWO locations around one junkyard. Cage even didn't try to ply he just SHOUT his replics and one time even on japanese even he straight up all time along speaks only english. Why? Even Sono don't know, this is just a mess. Plot here thin as air and don't make any sense in very baaad means. Its not a smart movie, not a great picture from someone who have peculiar fantasies. Its japanese routine for western people: here your Hiroshima complex, there your white dude ball and big sausage (why its EVEN in movie its not fun just stupid how Sono was obsessive about Cage balls). This is bad film from all angles.
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Meaningless movie with plain plot
rashedd-417193 September 2021
This movie is one of the worst movie that I have seen this year. It is considered as an action movie yet it has no action scenes.
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Nah B
mevgerv13 September 2021
I ended up walking out of this movie. I'm a big fan of Cage's gonzo approach to films, and appreciate the whacky, nonconformist nature of his work. While many of his movies skate on that artistic edge of absurd/genius, this one just kinda sucked. Felt contrived to the point that it was unwatchable.
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Beyond stupid
seacargm23 September 2021
What the eff is this trash? Did someone smoke some weed and write a script (and I use the word script in the most liberal sense of the word)? Nothing makes sense and don't even begin to try to call this stupidity art. It's just dumb beyond belief. Could not finish watching.
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silly, boring and not worth it
coex2314 September 2021
Honestly, I'll never "get" the appeal of Nicholas Cage. He does "over the top" and that's it. I think the only film that I've seen him in that I thought his faux gonzo performance worked, was Herzog's Bad Lieutenant. Anything else that I've seen him in is just silly and/or boring.

This is boring and silly. And not "silly" as in "fantastic slapstick comedy", but "omg this is ridiculous". And boring.

Save yr money and read a book about film.
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Cowboys, Geishas and Samurais, oh my!
aeongale14 September 2021
Coupled with an adjacent village that resembles a Mad Max dystopia made by Terry Gilliam. In short, it's a story about a guy that has to rescue a girl. It's not a standard action movie, normies aren't going to like it as you can see from the bad reviews. It's as weird as Mandy but with the "wtf?" factor toned down a bit. Does it make sense? No, not really. I think there's is a metaphor about time throughout it though. Is it good? Well, it's visually interesting and you'll get some laughs from it.
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Bad does not come close to describing this movie
ianchapps14 September 2021
Acting bad Story horrible Directing abominable Do not waste your time on this. Honestly if you can get through 15 minutes of this without cringing, you've done very well.

Watch Cage's previous movie "Pig". Its everything this isn't!!
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This was pretty far out there...
paul_haakonsen9 October 2021
Sure, the poster/cover for "Prisoners of the Ghostland" definitely looks really interesting, I will say that much. And yeah, I opted to sit down and watch this 2021 movie given the fact that it was a new movie that I hadn't already seen, and also because it has Bill Moseley on the cast list.

Well, "Prisoners of the Ghostland" is a strange movie, even for a Nicolas Cage movie. Even by his standards, then this movie is out there, way, way out there. From the whacked out storyline to the insanely bizarre imagery, props, costumes and sets.

I found the storyline in "Prisoners of the Ghostland", as written by Aaron Hendry and Reza Sixo Safai, to be very odd and bizarre. It was so far out there that the movie suffered from it, as it grew annoyingly and frustratingly tough to sit through, as most of the things made little to no sense, or was just so wacky that you just don't get it.

The acting in the movie was as to be expected. I wish that Bill Moseley would have been given more on-screen time, because he was - hands down - the best thing about the movie. Sure, it was nice to see Sofia Boutella on the screen, but she seemed to be running on auto-pilot. And this was, for better or worse, just another notch in the strange movie career of Nicolas Cage.

The characters and the dialogue throughout the course of "Prisoners of the Ghostland" was pretty bad, and that reflected rather poorly on the overall movie.

I am sure that there is an audience out there for director Sion Sono's movie "Prisoners of the Ghostland". But as it happened to be, then I wasn't the target audience. And I can't claim to have found much enjoyment or entertainment in this particular movie.

My rating of "Prisoners of the Ghostland" lands on a generous two out of ten stars.
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Cultures clash in this bonkers, symbolic live-action anime
Nick_Milligan16 September 2021
There's a lot to unpack in this sashimi western. Sion Sono's feverish, live-action anime is loaded with symbolism and iconography, a wonderfully strange and humorous lament on Japanese culture. As it was explored in Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle, the Japanese obsession with American culture runs deep, and Sono fuses the two sensibilities here - a frontier western mashed with a feudal samurai drama.

On another level, Prisoners of the Ghostland is exploring the nuclear and cultural fallout of the atomic bombs that fell during World War II, as the movie searingly depicts in its final act. The ghosts of this movie are a slaves to that act, as they are slaves to time as commanded by Bill Moseley's deified Governor.

Then there are the visual motifs and homages. It's no coincidence Nic Cage's Hero is dressed much like Max Rockatansky, and Mad Max II is clearly a reference point, another film haunted by the remnants of society in a dystopian wasteland. There's even echoes of The Wizard of Oz.

Prisoners of the Ghostland will puzzle many and delight some, but ultimately it's a far more layered and intelligent piece of filmmaking than most will give it credit for. It's cinema as art, impressionistic, multi-faceted and worthy of dissection.

I had a ball.
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Unfinished Business
Tweetienator21 September 2021
I don't know, Prisoners of the Ghostland got some interesting ideas but the whole affair looks unfinished, unpolished. Even the visual quality of the movie would need some serious editing and reworking - everything looks like some takes from pre-production status. How Nicolas Cage and Sofia Boutella got involved into this movie, I can't understand. For sure, Prisoners of the Ghostland is not the worst movie ever but rather a disappointing and unsatisfying experience. Not recommended, or only to those who want to watch everything that got Cage and/or Boutella casted. This is not a trip on acid but rather a hangover after a night with too much cheap beer involved.
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mmevanille-5309716 September 2021
Probably the most crazy film I have ever seen. It will go down as a stoner's cult hit. Needs to be viewed as a comedy and don't even try to have it make any sense, its not supposed to.

Even though this kind of film isn't my personal cup of tea, I respect the absolute tenacity to make a film like this. And for set design, costumes and ensemble alone, it needs to have 10 stars.

There is quite simply nothing like it. Rating it 1-2 stars is really disrespecting absurdity altogether, whether or not you personally enjoy it. I guess absurdism is lost on some people with no creative impulses.
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One of a kind
wafflepenguin16 April 2021
Sion Sono has made a wonderfully imaginative movie that so effortlessly blends so many different ideas and genres from comedy, to action to dark and poignant themes. All the actors do a great job, particularly Sofia Boutella and Nic Cage with a wild performance. Also, the cinematography is wonderful, elevated by the beautiful colours. However, where the film suffers for me is that the plot feels almost "clunky" without any natural flow, events seem to just take place. This bizarre world also isn't established too well, and it felt as if there needed some form of exposition, not too much, but more than it gives. Nonetheless, this movie is exceptionally entertaining, despite its flaws, particularly thanks to Nic Cage's performance.
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