sympathy for the devil

Several times, filmmakers explore minimalist casting and settings within four-wheeled vehicles. This time, half of the production has taken place in a giant LED studio. The Mandalorian series previously employed a similar production approach. “Sympathy for the Devil,” a minimalist thriller directed by Yuval Adler, is a 90-minute film starring Nicolas Cage and Joel Kinnaman. Notably, it is the first feature film to utilize Vū studio LED screen technology in Las Vegas.

The story unfolds as a man (Kinnaman) rushes to the hospital because his wife is about to give birth in Las Vegas. Suddenly, a mysterious man (Cage) in the parking lot threatens to kill him unless he takes him somewhere. The driver, unsure of what to do, complies with the mysterious passenger, who doesn’t hesitate to kill anyone in his way. A policeman also falls victim to his brutality. It is later revealed that the man did not randomly choose the driver.

Although the story revolves around two characters and limited settings (60% in the car), it effectively builds tension and mystery simultaneously. The motive behind the mysterious passenger’s “crazy” behavior piques our curiosity. As the story progresses, the mysteries gradually unfold, brutally depicted through a scene at the diner. Ultimately, the film offers a small but intriguing story alongside the stellar performances of the cast. Nicolas Cage, known for his expressive portrayals of “bad” characters, delivers another outstanding performance, reminiscent of his roles in “Face Off,” “Willy’s Wonderland,” “Pig,” and the recent “Reinfield.”

“Sympathy for the Devil” serves as a minimalist thriller showcasing Nicolas Cage’s impressive acting skills. The film feels like an experiment testing the capabilities of the indoor studio where the production is located, with extraordinary results. While watching, one may not realize that almost all shots were captured in an indoor studio with a giant screen as a backdrop. This technology is said to shorten production time and budget. However, there is hope for future films to explore more complex stories with varied settings. “The Mandalorian” series demonstrated this capability flawlessly, even though it was produced in a different studio.

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His hobby has been watching films since childhood, and he studied film theory and history autodidactically after graduating from architectural studies. He started writing articles and reviewing films in 2006. Due to his experience, the author was drawn to become a teaching staff at the private Television and Film Academy in Yogyakarta, where he taught Film History, Introduction to Film Art, and Film Theory from 2003 to 2019. His debut film book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2008, which divides film art into narrative and cinematic elements. The second edition of the book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2018. This book has become a favorite reference for film and communication academics throughout Indonesia. He was also involved in writing the Montase Film Bulletin Compilation Book Vol. 1-3 and "30 Best Selling Indonesian Films 2012-2018." Additionally, he authored the "Horror Film Book: From Caligari to Hereditary" (2023) and "Indonesian Horror Film: Rising from the Grave" (2023). Until now, he continues to write reviews of the latest films at and is actively involved in all film productions at the Montase Film Community. His short films have received high appreciation at many festivals, both local and international. Recently, his writing was included in the shortlist (top 15) of Best Film Criticism at the 2022 Indonesian Film Festival. From 2022 until now, he has also been a practitioner-lecturer for the Film Criticism and Film Theory courses at the Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts in the Independent Practitioner Program.


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