Dying of the Light (2014)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Dying of the Light</strong> (2014)

(Video on Demand, February 2015) While forgettable, largely unseen film Dying of the Light does have a thing or two going for it.  The first is right up there on the poster: a visibly older Nicolas Cage, graying temples and facial features highlighting his advancing age.  This, after all, is a story about old people trying to come to grips with long-running trauma.  If Dying of the Light had stuck to this theme, it may have been successful.  Heck, had it ended ten minutes earlier, right after a meeting between two antagonists in which both measure the futility of revenge, the film would have been provocative and meditative.  Instead, it keeps going, allows some out-of-place gory violence to stain the plot and ends on an intensely familiar note.  Too bad, because for most of its duration, Dying of the Light is a meditative take on the modern espionage thriller, measuring the cost of the War on Terrorism and showing the toll that it takes on its combatants.  The film isn’t particularly interesting as it moves through Europe and then Africa, but the film doesn’t try to be anything else but a quiet low-budget thriller.  Cage, as a veteran CIA agent with a terminal illness, moves slower and with deliberation, while having two or three opportunities to indulge in his signature rants.  If it hadn’t been for that dumb violent conventional ending, Dying of the Light could have been underperforming but interesting; with it, it just becomes a hum-drum spy thriller the likes of which we see too often.  Veteran writer/director Paul Schraeder is on record as being disappointed in the final result (apparently completed without his input), but I’m not sure that post-production could have fixed the script’s basic issues.

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