It’s another week, so Nicolas Cage has a new film out on DVD/Blu-Ray and VOD platforms. The latest one, The Humanity Bureau, is his first sci-fi movie since the interesting Knowing back in 2009, when his films would still open theatrically. However, it seems that this year will see a sort of comeback for Cage where theatrical release is concerned, with Mom & Dad opening earlier this year and the much-anticipated Mandy later on.
The Humanity Bureau is set in a kind of anarcho-capitalist fantasyland where private companies control the government and everybody is rated on their productivity. If they aren’t productive members of society, they are sent to New Eden—which is a concentration camp, in reality. Cage plays Noah Kross (a reference to Chinatown), an enforcement officer for the Humanity Bureau who selects who is too unfit for society and has to be sent to New Eden. He meets Rachel (Sarah Lind) and her son, and soon makes a connection with them. Just as quickly, he is on the run, trying to get to Canada with a government enforcer hot on their tail. Kross also may have deeper reasons behind why he is helping this mother and son.
Cage gives a very committed performance, as he always does even in the crappiest film, and he seems to enjoy going back to the world of science fiction. I assume the script has been lying around for awhile, but either the director Rob W. King or the writer Dave Schultz (no relation I think!) decided to inject some contemporary political commentary in it: there is a scene where somebody talks about going to the White House. and you see none other than the Cheeto-in-chief, Donald Trump.
It’s nothing to write home about, but it has some fun political comment and a nice anti-global warming message, with American being this desolate desert future. It’s a 90-minute ride, which for a VOD Nic Cage film not directed by a proper filmmaker like Paul Schrader or Tim Hunter is certainly better than his usual choices. Cage is also surprisingly restrained, with no big freakouts during the running time.
The disc includes a featurette that actually includes Cage talking about the film, so at least he liked it enough to talk about it for a minute.