Review: Southern Fury
23 February, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
Nic Cage in Southern Furry, sorry Fury
Directed by Steven C Miller
THIS week – and it feels like a case of serendipity – I was reading film critic Mark Kermode’s marvellous Hatchet Job, a collection of thoughts on film and criticism. The opening chapter contains some of the greatest put-downs ever wafted in the direction of cinematic tosh.
I closed the book as I waited for the opening credits to play in Miller’s Southern Fury, a film whose PR bumf offers us a chance to take “a trip to the underbelly of the Deep South”, and almost immediately my mind began to wander back to the pages I had just read. For Southern Fury is so utterly without any redeeming features it is sheer joy to sit back and write about it.
It’s a blood-splattered story about two brothers, JP and Mikey (Adrian Grenier and Johnathon Schaech), who get in trouble when one of them is kidnapped by a Biloux-based gangster, played with extraordinary ineptitude by Nicolas Cage.
I won’t spend too long on lambasting a twist-less plot, nor a soundtrack that consists mostly of a woob-woob noise. I shan’t linger on a script that uses dialogue as a commentary on what’s going on, sounding much like “I will now get out of a car and I will walk over to your house. Here I am, on your doorstep.”
Nor shall I say too much on the use of a colour palette that’s reminiscent of a car advert from a 1970s men’s magazine: it’s as if the director accidentally swiped a filter on a lens and then couldn’t work out how to make it stop. Instead, one can only wonder why Cage and co-star John Cusack went near this.
As I waited for it to crawl towards a merciful end, I could only think of the following as I sought distraction. Imagine Cage’s career is like an Eddie the Eagle ski jump. Red Rock West and Raising Arizona were filmed when he was at the top of the slope, enjoying the view, the world laid out before him. Face Off and Con Air were the movies made as he bombed downhill, the wind in his face, a crash waiting to happen but not quite there. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is him airborne with skis going skewwhiff, and Southern Fury is him landing in a painful heap.
Perhaps he signed up for this before he or Cusack saw a script, and then realised they had been sold a pup. That could explain why he is decked out in an extraordinary prosthetic nose and wig. It’s like he has raided a dressing-up box with the aim of going to a party as Pablo Escobar, while Cusack hides behind sunglasses and a bandana throughout.
Even the fake blood acts badly, but the gore has the saving grace of pushing it up the censorship ratings so no one will waste 90 precious minutes of their youth watching this poisonous blancmange.
One star – for the wig.