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Yuval Adler’s Sympathy for the Devil

Sympathy for the Devil

Sympathy for the Devil

Sympathy for the Devil, USA 2023. Directed by Yuval Adler, written by Luke Paradise.

Atelier im Savoy, Row 3, Seat 9. Original version with German subs.

(This post originally appeared, in slightly different form, at my Instagram account betweendrafts.)

Yes, I liked it.

It’s a two-hander, basically, a small handful of supporting actors notwithstanding. Paradise’s script doesn’t invent the wheel, certainly. But it is good enough and clever enough with subtle foreshadowings to translate its not exactly mind-boggling premise into an entertaining movie.

Sure enough, other movies come to mind, with Near Dark once again prominently among them. But Cage plays his character sufficiently deranged; the cat-&-mouse mystery is sufficiently suspenseful; and the violence is sufficiently plenty to make the trip to the movie theater worthwhile.

Provided, of course, you like Nicolas Cage and his antics! (I’ve always been a fan of his, with antics or without.)

At the risk of Bostonians getting mad at me, Cage’s Boston accent appeared to me quite convincing most of the time. Yuval Adler did a pretty good job at directing, and everything is very solid and professional—from cut, pacing, and action scenes to score, soundtrack, and sound design to the movie’s neon-infused nightlife cinematography. (A substantial part of which was shot on a VR stage.)

From time to time, I couldn’t avoid noticing the German subtitles this theatrical copy came with, and what I glimpsed there was every bit as terrible as those from Past Lives I mentioned a few weeks ago. Why would anyone even vaguely engaged in doing a decent job translate “tone-deaf” with »bescheuert«, for example? Is there a secret challenge among translators to make German subtitles as excruciatingly inane as German dubs? Something like that must be the case, I’m sure.

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