17th Dec2015

‘The Runner’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Sarah Paulson, Nicolas Cage, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Berry, Peter Fonda, Wendell Pierce, Fredric Lehne, Bryan Batt, Dana Gourrier, Kerry Cahill, Wanetah Walmsley, Ciera Payton | Written and Directed by Austin Stark

the-runner-cast

Nicolas Cage! *The Internet cheers*. Alright, now we have that over and done with, let’s get down to the review…

In the aftermath of the BP oil spill, an idealistic but imperfect New Orleans politician (Nicolas Cage) finds his plans of restoration unravelling as his own life becomes contaminated with corruption, scandal and deceit.

I am going to leap right into the meat of it here and say that The Runner is not a happy film. If you’re one of those people who like a happy ending and for everything to be wrapped up at least a little bit by the end, you definitely shouldn’t go for this film. It has quite a dark and depressing finish. But, if that doesn’t scare you away, read on.

In The Runner, Nicholas Cage is Colin Pryce, a politician from Louisiana trying to help out during the disastrous oil spill which happened a few years ago. He starts off strong, but after an unfortunate stumble into a 27-year -old cheerleading instructor’s nether regions, his reputation is ruined and everything comes crashing around him. From there, I expected a climb back to his former position through hard work with a few ‘God Bless Americas’ thrown in. I suppose I should commend The Runner for moving away from the expected and just pushing Pryce into an ever downward spiral.

I’m not really sure how the film wanted us to view Cage’s character. As a fallen hero? A flawed human who is just trying his best? All I know is that I found him incredibly frustrating and as a result, the film dragged. I think my inability to empathise with the character was a major reason that I just could not connect with The Runner. The man has his reputation destroyed and begins to torture himself as a result and the best I could conjure up was a slight raising of the shoulders in response. Ah well, sucks to be him.

Even with all that happens, The Runner never really got my blood pumping. I assume Pryce wanted to save the people he once represented, but you never really feel it. He seems to give in too easily in the face of obstacles and there doesn’t seem to be much of a drive to keep the film going.

Instead of a hard hitting political drama, The Runner seems more of a ‘lie down and take the kicking’ kind. A shame, really.

** 2/5

The Runner is released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 4th, courtesy of High Fliers Films.

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