[Fantastic Fest 2018] Review: BETWEEN WORLDS Is The Definition Of Out Of This World Bonkers

The following review is coming from Fantastic Fest 2018

The critical acclaim for Mandy is palpable and it was a positive sign coming fairly close to the success of the wildly entertaining Mom and Dad, and akin to acting brethren Matthew Mcconaughey, some began to toss around the idea of a Cage renaissance. Who knows. It may be possible, but something preventing Cage from truly crashing through the stratosphere in a Hollywood comeback story is the fact that Nic Cage is still out there taking jobs that will have you questioning if someone on the production team is blackmailing him. What puts Cage in a league of his own is the ability to tap into a primal energy of scenery chewing, a purely maniacal descent into madness that has you questioning reality, and that is exactly what Between Worlds offers.

Before checking out Between Worlds, I highly suggest you read the already convoluted plot synopsis, because the movie starts off with the speed of a locomotive but the trajectory is completely off the rails. Going in blind will have you confused as you’re dropped into a story that feels like it’s halfway through the run time a mere eight minutes into the movie. Everything about this movie screams mid-nineties made-for-tv aesthetic. Whether it’s the subpar production values, the hackneyed plot, the lurid and sporadically explicit “skinemax” sex scenes, or the soundtrack that sounds lifted from a Playstation Silent Hill rip off, nothing about Between Worlds fits together cohesively. Yet, against all odds, Maria Pulera has created an absolute trainwreck in every sense of the nomenclature: you don’t want to watch but you can’t look away.

The plot feels lifted from an HBO late late night production, shoehorning a story around taboo sexual occasions. When down and out trucker Joe (Cage) finds Julie (Franka Potenta), he stops her from being strangled only to discover that Julie can make contact with the dead when in a near death state. With her daughter Billie (Penelope Mitchell) in a coma after a motorcycle crash, Julie was looking for the choke out, and Joe realizes that he has found someone who may be able to connect him with his dead wife and daughter. In a truly wild twist, after Joe starts seeing Julie, his deceased wife possesses the young Billie in an attempt to lure her husband back.

WHAT?! I know. It feels like the plot of a fake horror erotic novel but somehow, in 2018, this movie exists. Don’t be fooled. Pulera isn’t able to craft some sort of sexy revenge thriller out of this, instead turning into the spinout and allowing Cage and Mitchell to deliver two of the most unbelievable performances in this half of the decade. Potenta brings one of the most uneven and confusing performances to the table, with an accent slipping in and out undecidedly, but it doesn’t matter. Listen, nothing matters. It can all be forgiven; the plot, the pacing, the mind numbingly confusing dangling threads, the kooky soundtrack. It’s all secondary to the fact that Cage delivers, perhaps, his most insane role ever.

This is Nic Cage we’re talking about. The man who punched a woman in a bear suit, who pissed fire, who destroyed a pool table while singing the hokey pokey. Yes, this same man is able to gain favor from some forgotten cosmic power to deliver a performance that is so over the top you have to ask yourself if we are in fact getting a glance past the actor and seeing what Cage is like, truly free and unbound by any rules of society. When a man in a crocodile shirt and leather pants references The Exorcist mid coitus, reads excerpts from a book (and I’m not kidding) titled Memories by Nicolas Cage while banging it out with his girlfriends daughter, and performs an animalistic hip thrusting, ass dropping dance while being doused with a garden house, we can firmly supplant that we are no longer existing within the frame of any rational sort of reality. This is Cage’s world now, baby, and we’re just along for the ride.