The Runner (2015)
“I’m running for Senate to move things forward, not only for this great state of Louisiana, for this great country.”
Every time I tend to give Nicolas Cage yet another chance to prove to me why I admired him in the past. What a pleasure it was to see him at work in “Matchstick Men“. How impressive he was with his unforgettable role in “Leaving Las Vegas“. Admittedly, in the past there were also a few crappy films with him starring in it. Recent years he manages to participate in one failure after the other. Just look at “Ghost Rider“, “Tokarev” and “Outcast“. The only noticeable better movie between all these is “Joe” (although I still need to see it). The rest is just sad. That’s why Cage looks more sad in each released movie. Just look at the cover of “The Runner“. Those tired, tormented, sad eyes speak volumes.
“The Runner” isn’t really such a movie that introduces the revival of Cage’s film career. And yet I respect Cage for his courage to participate in a politically charged film like this. Because to be honest, politic isn’t really an exciting topic to fill a feature film. Politic is boring, sometimes unworldly, incomprehensible and uninteresting to me. It’s therefore not surprising that these are also the characteristics of this political drama. The title of the film is a bit misleading. It’s not that Cage runs around to provide financial support for local fisheries. Nor that he swiftly runs from one lover to another. Or that it has a symbolic meaning when it comes to his flight out of alcoholism. It simply refers to the daily habit of Congressman Colin Price (Nicolas Cage), to put on a pair of running shoes every morning, so he can go jog a bit.
It’s all about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico where an explosion on an oil rig caused oil streaming into the sea for months. Southern states like Louisiana and Alabama were hit by this oil spill. Price is a congressman in Louisiana and he’s concerned about the fate of the local fishermen and industries. In an emotional plea during an television interview, he draws attention to the economic consequences of this environmental disaster. At once he’s the center of attention and his employees see this as an opportunity to let his political career grow. Unfortunately some surveillance recordings are revealed with compromising images of this congressman with an African American young lady in an elevator. Price is truly concerned about these fishermen because she’s the wife of an African American fisherman. His political career hits rock bottom and before he knows it, he’s looking again at the bottom of a whiskey bottle. Typical American. At least the man tries to do something for the hard-working working man and before you know it, the media comes up with some facts related to the man’s privat life.
The only ray of light in this unnecessary film, filled with political drivel and unabashed corruption, is the magnificent acting by Peter Fonda. He plays Colin’s father and he’s also a former politician who has swum through difficult waters (oil-free in his case). He also has an enormous alcohol problem. The relationship between both hard-boiled politicians isn’t so good. And you can say that’s an understatement. There are some wonderful acting moments between father and son. But for the rest, this film is as dead as the fish in the oiled seawater. Apparently politicians are energetic. A trait this film really doesn’t possess. Lets hope Cage looks a bit more cheerful in his next film !