(US/Bahamas - 2014)
Written and directed by Paul Schrader. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Anton Yelchin, Alexander Karim, Irene Jacob, Ayman Hamdouchi, Claudius Peters, Adetomiwa Edun, Robert G. Slade, Serben Celea, Silas Carson, Arsha Aghdasi. (R, 94 mins)
Evan Lake (Nicolas Cage) is a legend at the CIA headquarters in Langley. He's received virtually every honor the CIA can bestow. One of the most brilliant minds in the history of the agency and a loner who's devoted his entire life to his country, Lake's been saddled with "temporary" desk duty that's now in its sixth year. He's desperate to get back in the field, but his right hand twitches, he drinks too much, and he's been prone to mood swings that are becoming more erratic by the day. He also hasn't been able to let go of a Beirut assignment from 22 years earlier where he was captured and brutally tortured by terrorist Mohammed Banir (Alexander Karim), who repeatedly beat him over the head with an oar and snipped off part his ear before an extraction team swarmed in, took out Banir and his men, and rescued Lake. Lake hasn't shaken the gnawing notion that Banir is still alive, and when he brings it up around the office, it usually provokes eye-rolls and a stern word from the CIA chief to drop it. And the news just got worse for Lake: he's been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, an aggressive brain disease similar to Alzheimer's that provokes difficulty focusing, outbursts, lack of emotional control, and wildly inappropriate overreactions. Respected around the office but stand-offish and cold, Lake's only work friend is young analyst Milton Schultz (Anton Yelchin), who's been doing some investigating in his spare time and gets a hit on a medication that's being smuggled into Bucharest after being prescribed by a Kenya-based doctor (Serben Celea). It's a seldom-used med that treats a rare genetic blood disorder that killed Banir's father and that Banir is known to carry. Knowing Banir has associates in both Mombasa and Bucharest, Schultz presents his findings to Lake, who is more convinced than ever that Banir faked his death and is alive, if not well. When the CIA honchos refuse to hear him out and practically force him to retire when his efforts to conceal his condition fail, Lake has a meltdown that ends up getting him escorted out of the building. With nothing to lose and wanting to nail Banir and prove he was right all along, Lake decides to spend what little time he has left finding Banir and exacting revenge. Lake and Schultz go rogue, heading to Romania where Lake attempts to infiltrate Banir's off-the-grid hiding place by posing as the new hematologist being secretly paid to visit and treat him.
|Clockwise from top left: Cage, Yelchin, Schrader and Refn display their grievances|
with the producers and distributor of DYING OF THE LIGHT
|Schrader with his stars during a break in filming|