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Nicolas Cage Takes a Stab at Noir with ‘Kill Chain’

With a little help from madman Cage, Millennium Films continues its domination over the Cannes marketplace.
Mandy Still
By  · Published on May 9th, 2018

With a little help from madman Cage, Millennium Films continues its domination over the Cannes marketplace.

We’re still waiting to hear on the quality of films currently being presented at the Cannes Film Festival, but it is obvious that the fish are biting as far as its marketplace is concerned. Film studios are beating the street, desperately pitching new and tired concepts. Directors like Sam Raimi, Mel Gibson, and Luc Besson are scrambling for financing as well as interest in their latest projects. Hotel Transylvania 3 even stormed the beaches with a yacht carrying breakdancing zombie bellhops. They’ve got money to burn for the global exhibition. Cannes is a circus and those that embrace it do well.

Millennium Films has stolen a lot of ink this year. They promise the continuing adventures of Rambo, The Expendables, The Mechanic, and whatever you call Gerard Butler’s character in Olympus Has Fallen. For them, no sequel is too absurd or insignificant. Film Twitter may not be crying out for The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, but Millennium Films is determined to make bank on a franchise.

At Cannes, Millennium is the little engine that could. They’re here to grab headlines. The string of titles listed above is practically engineered to pique geek interest. We may shake our heads or roll our eyes, but we’re still going to buy tickets.

Nicholas Cage is a perfect match for the company. The actor has been tearing up the trenches of the VOD trade. Just ask our very own Chris Coffel. From the psychotic parental horror of Mom and Dad to the Hitchcockian wannabe of Looking Glass, Cage is determined to own every corner of the genre. That’s a madman a plucky studio like Millennium Films needs on their side.

Since every film cannot be a sequel (please don’t make me explain the birds and bees of franchizing), Millennium has acquired Cage for Kill Chain. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is touted as being in the tradition of the “greatest detective noirs films.” The title is certainly no sillier than classic noirs like Gun Crazy, Raw Deal, or Nightmare Ally. The bold hyperbole matches the casting, and I am here for it.

Written and directed by Ken Sanzel (the producer behind Numb3rs and the writer of The Replacement Killers), the actual plot revolves around a conflict between three strangers. That barebones description could fit anything from Shallow Grave to Bridget Jones’s Diary. If Cage has to battle it out with Hugh Grant for the heart of Renée Zellweger, we might be in for a more emotionally savage saga than anticipated.

Neo Noir is a realm every filmmaker is eager to get their hands on. The mechanics are simplistic and readily available to study every college quarter. It’s a genre where the style is the substance, and the film often succeeds solely based on the director’s vision. Although, what’s The Maltese Falcon without Humphrey Bogart?

Cage has dabbled with noir in the past. He’s directly remade Kiss of Death, a film that leaves the style of noir behind but fully embraces the hard-case players. He’s absolutely comfortable with noir morality. In fact, that’s a zone he excels inside. Hopefully, Kill Chain will fit snugly against demonic character performances like Snake Eyes, Bringing Out the Dead, Lord of War, and Bad Lieutenant. A Face/Off freakout or two couldn’t hurt either.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)