He’s ba-aaack!

Nicolas Cage took a severe flip in 2021’s “Pig,” reminding us of the Oscar-winning actor lurking inside the VOD darling.

Immediately, years of maniacally over-the-top performances (“Mandy!” “Willy’s Wonderland!”) obtained shoved apart, incomes him among the finest notices of his profession.

Cage couldn’t keep constrained for lengthy.

“Sympathy for the Devil” lets Cage pull out his bug-eyed stops. That’s clever since this 90-minute thriller wants each ounce of Cage’s magnetism to maintain us ready for the large reveal.

When it comes, it’s a veritable “meh,” however who wouldn’t watch an unhinged Cage maintain our hand till that second?

Joel Kinnaman stars as David, a frazzled father anticipating his second little one. His spouse’s final being pregnant resulted in tragedy, so he needs to be by his spouse’s aspect for the beginning. He’s a dad, and he thinks he can will his little one’s secure entry into this world.

A wild-haired stranger has different plans.

Cage’s unnamed “Passenger” jumps into David’s automotive within the hospital parking zone, flashes a gun and tells him to drive.

The cat and mouse recreation is on. Cage’s character is a stone-cold killer, chewing the surroundings as solely the “Raising Arizona” star can. David, determined to reunite along with his spouse, will do no matter it takes to be by her aspect.

What if we’re not aware about the entire story? Or maybe nothing the Passenger says could be trusted?

It doesn’t take lengthy to appreciate there’s just one means this ends, however it’s nonetheless a fuel to observe Cage alternately threaten and candy discuss the folks they meet alongside the best way.

Director Yuval Adler teases us with fashion, from the ripe soundtrack to some sharp compositions. He might have gone the total Tarantino-lite, however his restraint right here helps the film. The characters matter greater than any, “look at me!” directorial flourish.

Luke Paradise’s screenplay paints the Passenger as a Boston native with a present for cultural references. He’s no dummy, however he’s additionally missing self-discipline and an ethical code.

That rigidity retains the story taut, as do the continually altering conditions. What fails “Sympathy” is the again story, the motivations behind the core characters. The movie can’t sufficiently flesh them out, and the character’s present actions don’t seize what introduced them to this place, this confrontation.

None of that issues when Cage is sinking his tooth right into a sequence, flashing his still-potent charisma regardless of the Passenger’s bloodlust.

You by no means know what he’ll do or say subsequent, and that spiky flip is sufficient motive to observe this “Devil” to its conclusion.

HiT or Miss: “Sympathy for the Devil” wants an over-the-top efficiency to promote its unsteady screenplay. Nicolas Cage is the proper man for the job.