Movie Review by Ania Kalinowska
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Gemmenne de la Peña
Director: Gore Verbinski
In my opinion, weather’ should be replaced by whether’. Because no matter how diligently they are studied, atmospheric conditions really have us at their whim. Weather prediction is just that: prediction. We often forget that what we see on TV is only a well-calculated guess – sort of like life, but on a map.
Dave Spritz (Nicholas Cage) is a weather man. Work-wise, he bears success, but his private matters are in distress. Discontent with the general state of his life, he worries about all the things that have gone wrong (pretty much everything) and makes half-attempts to set them right (which is not as easy as it sounds). It’s almost as though someone has given failed ratings for every aspect of Dave’s miserable personal existence: ruined marriage – check; dying, disappointed father – check; troublesome son with drug history – check; hopeless, overweight daughter – check; assaults in the form of foodstuffs from scathing fans – check…
Yup, it’s not easy being Dave. And it’s not going to get any easier.
This sometimes clinical look at one man’s struggles is every bit as entertaining as it is draining. Hearing Cage’s monotonous voice drudging up disappointing collections of his bleak memories is like indulging in your own worst lifestyle nightmares. The brilliance lies in that they are both ordinary and plausible, a case in point reflecting the widespread dissatisfaction so prevalent in today’s society. There is definitely a statement here that everyone can identify with.
Nicolas Cage is engaging and believable as the everyman stuck in a listless life, and supporting acts from the rest of the cast (which include Michael Caine as Dave’s dad and Hope Davis as his ex-wife) continue this sensibility. The very lack of melodrama feels odd because we are so used to predominantly seeing it in movies which centre on family matters. But there are no extremes here: Dave is experiencing life as it is, and despite his hopes, dreams or efforts, some things just don’t get any better. The finger of blame, if one even exists, lies wherever you decide to point it!
Director Gore Verbinski (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) shows thorough understanding of the subtle moods that are central to pulling off this tricky piece. He succeeds, enabling the film to be simultaneously tragic, comic, and often unpredictable. This is one of those character-driven, reflective works where nothing exciting happens, so if it’s a thrilling or strictly comic plot you’re after, you will be disappointed.
Thus beware. THE WEATHER MAN is not a regular comedy drama. In the bigger scheme of things, it is an ironic depiction of mankind’s present situation on earth. Recognising the irony holds the key to appreciating this fine film.