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Nicolas Cage’s 15 Wildest Film Roles, from ‘Bad Lieutenant’ to ‘Mandy’

Those looking for a deranged performance in what may be Nicolas Cage’s most zen movie ever with “Pig” should turn elsewhere, like to these 15 films.

Nicolas Cage

“Wild at Heart,” “Mandy,” “Ghost Rider,” “Bad Lieutenant”

Everett Collection

Given Nicolas Cage’s flair for playing retribution-chasing lunatics, you wouldn’t be wrong for suspecting his latest movie “Pig” is another vehicle for the actor to pursue hell-raising revenge. From the blood-soaked psychedelia of “Mandy” as a logger violently grieving the murder of his girlfriend, to the slow-motion spiritual decay of his alcoholic screenwriter in “Leaving Las Vegas,” Cage characters are almost always avenging something, with the actor pushing himself to the cliff’s edge of madness nearly every time.

But in “Pig,” the feature directing debut of Michael Sarnoski, his off-the-grid woodsman Rob is quietly seeking answers as to the whereabouts of the beloved truffle-hunting pal of the title after she’s kidnapped. Yet he doesn’t exactly employ violent means to find her, which makes for a Cage performance that by comparison to the rest of his output feels low-key and even against type. This might come as a relief for audiences worn down by his trademark over-the-top, flamboyant insanity, but even still, you can’t call the Oscar winner anything less than fearless.

Below, look back on 15 of his craziest roles — some wild in their go-for-broke physicality (see: “Face/Off,” for one), others in their more inward, neurotic obsessiveness and self-loathing (see: “Adaptation,” for another), and even a few for their downright repulsiveness (see: Werner Herzog’s spin on “Bad Lieutenant”).

Also, read IndieWire’s review of “Pig” here.

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