Your enjoyment for Sympathy for the Devil will very much depend on how high your tolerance is for Nicolas Cage doing his Nic Cage bit. For those who enjoy Cage going full wacko… then strap in because this film is for you. Cage is loud, bug-eyed, and maniacal. If however you do not find yourself partial to the Nic Cage doing crazy, then also strap in, because Sympathy for the Devil may prove itself to be a bit of a slog.
Released on July 28, 2023 through RLJE Films, and written by Luke Paradise, as well as directed by Yuval Adler (The Operative 2019, The Secrets We Keep 2020), Sympathy for the Devil introduces the audience to expectant father David (Joel Kinnaman: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2011, Suicide Squad 2021). In fact, David is literally on his way to the hospital to be with his wife, who is currently in labor, when a man climbs into the back of his car. At first presuming that he may have been mistaken for an uber, David is calm but confused. However this new passenger, who sports bright red hair and a gun, is actually David’s worst nightmare and he demands to be driven to an unknown destination.
Honestly, from the beginning of the film, it feels like Kinnaman and Cage are in two different films. Kinnaman is far too serious, and Cage is far too flippant. David is in a life threatening situation in a harrowing Thriller film, and Cage is a comic book villain in some kind of film of some sort, but what that film is is anyone’s guess. The other issue that becomes clear is that the plot is too flimsy to merit a feature length film. For the most part, Sympathy for the Devil is a two-hander, but with Cage’s character keeping his cards close to his chest and simply insisting that what he is doing has a purpose. Meanwhile, Kinnaman’s character frequently insists that he doesn’t know Cage… and it is not really enough to make for an engaging storyline.
All this in mind, Sympathy for the Devil does look the part though. Visually the film looks like a Thriller throughout with a dark and moody color palette. The fact that a large part of the film was actually shot on a soundstage makes this detail even more impressive. Although as Sympathy for the Devil reaches its ultimate destination, unfortunately it does not feel like the journey to get there was worth the travelling time. All matters considered, Cryptic Rock gives Sympathy for the Devil 2 out of 5 stars.