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Prisoners of the Ghostland

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Japan, United States · 2021
1h 43m
Director Sion Sono
Starring Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Bill Moseley, Nick Cassavetes
Genre Action, Horror, Thriller

Set in the frontier city of Samurai Town, the film centers on a notorious criminal, Hero, sent to rescue the abducted granddaughter of a wealthy warlord, The Governor. In exchange for finding the missing girl, Hero is offered freedom, but the price to pay may be too high.

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What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


TheWrap by Alonso Duralde

While the film far outshines most of Cage’s recent efforts (he was direct-to-VOD when direct-to-VOD wasn’t cool) in terms of art direction and fearlessly madcap storytelling, the results are nonetheless muddled and messy.


Slashfilm by Ben Pearson

A maniacal whirlwind of cinematic insanity, it feels equally likely that Prisoners of the Ghostland could become a cult classic or disappear into the fog. Whether its overall inscrutability is a bug or a feature remains to be seen.


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

Even when nothing else in the film makes sense, the unhinged ethos of its own creation leaves a clue behind with the clarity of a body-chalk outline.


The Hollywood Reporter by John DeFore

It alternates between too simplistic and incomprehensible, spending much of its time in between those poles in the "I understand, but I don't care" zone.


Total Film by Jordan Farley

Prisoners of the Ghostland exists entirely outside the norms and conventions of moviemaking. Really there’s only one word to describe it: nuts.


The Film Stage by Jordan Raup

The actual experience of watching this gonzo dystopian samurai western is far from the shock-a-minute journey that one would expect, but even in its more banal sequences, Sono’s imaginative eye peeks through.


Polygon by Matt Patches

It’s one of the director’s more mainstream efforts. What could easily devolve into a Crank-like exercise in hyperactivity is conducted with a steady hand and an appreciation for the details. Sono wants his audience to luxuriate in the brutal beauty of Boutella wielding a gatling gun.


Variety by Peter Debruge

Somehow, it doesn’t actually seem surprising that Cage would partner with Sono. But the creative choices they make together, from an exploding gumball machine to endangered testicles — well, they must be seen to be believed.


IGN by Siddhant Adlakha

You know exactly what brand of “weird” to expect from Nicolas Cage and Sion Sono, but what you might not expect is how much the film feels like a death dream about movies.

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