Jakob DaviesNicolas Cage...
Action & AdventureScience Fiction
Rob W. King
In 1 Cinema
It is truly sad to see something or someone astounding dwindle down to just plain ordinary. Having seen Nicholas Cage star in movies like Face Off (1997), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), and Matchstick Man (2003), The Humanity Bureau was truly heartbreaking to watch.
The film is set in a post-apocalyptic future. In 2030 global warming and human consumption have caused radiation contamination and scarce resources. To survive, a law has been introduced stating that every citizen of the United States of America must contribute more than they consume. The Humanity Bureau is created to monitor the execution of this law and implements the penalty of breaking it: banishment to some sort of camp called New Eden, outside the safe borders of normal society. Agent Noah Kross (Nicholas Cage) is a Humanity Bureau Officer who discovers that New Eden is a crematorium where almost 7 million people have been burned in a government sanctioned genocide. Kross then attempts to save a mother (Sarah Lind) and her child (Jakob Davies) from their fate in New Eden.
The premise is interesting, especially since the possibility of the world changing due to global warming and human consumption is very real, and survival methods are expected to not always be ethical (specifically with governments being involved). However, the film butchers the potential of this premise with a thin script, weird and unnecessary scenes, and an awkwardness in acting.
Th film’s script is very predictable; from the major events, to the specific plot points, and even to the lines said by the characters. It is as if this feature is a cheap adaptation of something that everyone has seen before. Additionally, the film does not take the time to delve into how and why things have become this way, rather it focuses on Noah Kross’s realisation that New Eden is a place where genocide is sanctioned and his attempt to save the mother and child. The post-apocalyptic world and New Eden themselves are much more interesting than anything the movie has to offer, and we almost see no exploration of these elements.
What is really sad is Nicholas Cage; he is an acting legend and his face is capable of capturing intense emotions like anger and insanity, or at least it used to be able to do that. Now in this film, Nicholas Cage fans would not even recognise his acting. His voice is monotone throughout most of the film, his facial expressions barely change, and his body language is stiff. The scenes containing interactions between him and Sarah Lind are no better; they are awkward, rehearsed, and lack any sort of chemistry. Even in the reveal scene, where the filmmakers decide to share character insights, both characters seem to be very obviously acting.
Nicholas Cage’s talent is undeniable and his movies are a major testament to that, but The Humanity Bureau is not one of them.