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A Score to Settle (2019)

Directed by Shawn Ku

To say I like Nicolas Cage would be an understatement. I have a fiancée who has an obsession with Face/Off, Con Air and a love/hate relationship with the rest of his back catalogue. This passion for Nicolas, meant that for 7 years we have been meticulously working our way through his films old and new, lapping up every minute of Cage’s psychotic breakdowns and horrendous wigs. We experienced so many in fact, that we created a game in which we had to name every movie he ever starred in. We always forgot about ‘Left Behind’, or tried to anyway!

We counted our lucky stars that we had the opportunity to watch his newest flick ‘A Score to Settle’. Nicolas Cage plays Frank, an ex-con who vows to take vengeance upon the past gang members who wronged him, all the while making up for lost time with the son he didn’t get to raise. Not forgetting to mention his chronic case of insomnia, slowly fuelling the crazy Cage we know and love. This film is very much two separate entities, two parts that could be mistaken to be from two entirely different movies. The crux of the story where we get our iconic Nic Cage adrenaline fuelled action, running alongside our father/son happy-go-lucky drama. Luckily by the time we see the credits roll, both are tied together to create a neat little story.

When it came to the action I expected more. Majorly overshadowed by the drama, it left little time to truly immerse in the backstory of this tragic character and although the reason for vengeance is kept under wraps for the twisted ending, it left his fellow gang members feeling like extras rather than properly fleshed out characters. But it did thankfully redeem itself with its third act. Finally showcasing the tremendous insanity we grasp onto in all his movies. An ending in which Nicolas Cage is relentless and formidable.

The Drama aspect of the story surprisingly delivers more than any slither of action. The love he feels for his son Joey feels genuine and I cared more for the wellbeing of that relationship, than any part of his mission. Whisking Joey away to splash his cash in expensive shops, to the beat of a strangely out of place, yet entirely welcome pop song is actually quite delightful. The unexpected light-hearted tale was great to see, especially when I expected a serious gritty revenge flick.

With its sweet beginnings and explosive ending the film was a nice little treat. Nicolas Cage is fantastic at what he does, especially when he chooses the right films and this is one of the good ones. Solidifying itself in the variable quality of Cage’s filmography. I can tell you this for sure, in the little game my fiancée and I play, this one wont be Left Behind.


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