starring Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Nick Cassavetes, Tak Sakaguchi
screenplay by Aaron Hendry, Reza Sixo Safai
directed by Sion Sono
by Walter Chaw A theory I've been kicking around about certain pre-made, fast-fashion auteur demimondes like, say, Sion Sono: there are those who are anointed cult filmmakers because they have idiosyncratic tastes; and there are those without any real taste who aspire to be cult filmmakers because they've figured out that idioscyncracy can be marketable and have thus taken it on as an affectation. The former make films the only way they can make them, driven by a purity and persistence of vision; the latter make stuff like Prisoners of the Ghostland, because they've seen films by the former and wonder what could be so hard about that? It's why Sono's work is only spoken of in reference to other films and filmmakers, or even to earlier entries in his own filmography, back when he was doing what he felt was right rather than what he thought he should. Prisoners of the Ghostland is a facile affectation, in other words, a slapdash collection of somebody else's cool without a genuine, native bone in its body. Douglas Adams includes instructions for how to fly in his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books: you fall and miss. You can't fly on purpose, you see. You can't make a camp movie on purpose, either. It took me three tries to get through Prisoners of the Ghostland. 102 minutes of someone not meaning it is incredibly boring.