Army of One
review by Bobby Blakey
There are so many rea life stories that are larger than life and hard to believe that you would think more filmmakers would dip into that well. Thankfully some do and have the chance bring something interesting and often times bizarre to the masses. The latest Army of One once again brings Nicolas Cage to yet another straight to home release feature, but this time is a bit different and teams him up with the always funny Russell Brand and director of Borat, Bruno and Curb Your Enthusiasm Larry Charles. Could this strange real life story offer up something that stands out or will it be a vision not worth following?
Army of One follows Gary Faulkner, an ex-con, unemployed handyman, and modern day Don Quixote who receives a vision from God telling him to capture Osama Bin Laden. Armed with only a single sword purchased from a home-shopping network, Gary travels to Pakistan to complete his mission. While on his quest, Gary encounters old friends back home in Colorado, the new friends he makes in Pakistan, the enemies he makes at the CIA - and even God and Osama themselves. This is such a strange movie in the best possible way. Sure it has its issues, but I have to admit I enjoyed the hell out of silly truth to it all. While it may not be saying much to some, I think this is Cage’s best performance in a long time. He dove head first in to fully embody this man complete with the best vocal tone that added a whole new layer to an already strange man. The story is near impossible to buy into, but the fact that it happened makes it all the more fun. Russell Brand shows up off and on as God and doesn’t really offer anything overly stand out, but is perfect for the role with what he does with it.
This is one of those moves that is hard to explain all that goes on as that is part of its charm. It’s not that it is an overly complicated film, but just so off the wall you have to see it. Director Larry Charles did the smart thing to play this up as a comedy as the story is so laughable it was tailor made to be told this way. I typically hate narration on a film, but here it adds to the laughs and allows you to feel more like you are on the journey. The film sports a great supporting cast including Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rainn Wilson, Matthew Modine, Will Sasso, and Paul Scheer who are all pretty straight laced characters which is needed to keep this film grounded in some sense of reality since the lead characters is not always all there. I was also glad to see that they went to these exotic places to film to add some authenticity to the story and in turn also made the film feel bigger than it might have otherwise.
This is a film that won’t work for everyone and some will likely find Cage’s performance pretty annoying, but that is the real guy so it’s hard to argue with it. If you can put aside the slow moments and aspects that don’t fully push the story forward you will find a funny bizarre little tale that will no doubt have you baffled to how he did any of this and lived to tell about it. Decide for yourself and join his journey to catch the most notorious terrorist in history with Army of One available now on Digital HD and hitting Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand on November 15th from Anchor Bay and Dimension Films.