Left Behind Movie Review: Nicolas Cage Is The Most Wholesome Thing In This Movie

Left Behind Movie Review: Nicolas Cage Is The Most Wholesome Thing In This Movie

By Nick Venable | Updated

nicolas cage left behind

Let’s be clear, this Abandoned review could be subtitled: “or how I stopped worrying about IMDb fooling me into thinking this was a science fiction movie and learned to accept its failure.”

AbandonedBased on the bestselling series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, it’s a familiar apocalyptic tale steeped in religion and disaster at this point. And I knew the whole film would be a deus ex machine.

Still, I was hoping for some kind of genre subversion that deserved the accompanying ‘sci-fi’ label, but that too failed to materialize.

According to some, the title refers to those left on the planet after a sudden mass disappearance occurs, with everyone devoted to their faith disappearing everywhere in the world.

The Abandoned concept is inherently scary to me, regardless of context. (HBO’s The leftovers plays this storyline in a completely different way.) The biggest problem with Abandoned is that the focus of this story flutters around like a fish out of water and cannot function as an action film, a religious film or even a thriller.

Abandoned is a film that uses a little person (Martin Klebba) for little person jokes, and Nicolas Cage plays one of the few characters who retains his sanity throughout the film. What the hell is this?

Cage plays Ray Steele, a married pilot trying to celebrate his birthday with work and having fun with his wife Irene (Lea Thompson), who has been a reformed Jesus devotee for the past year. Ray’s daughter Chloe (Cassi Thomson) comes home especially for the celebration and is upset to see that he chose to work (and play) instead of doing family things.

Ray flies to London on a plane full of strange stereotypes, accompanied by sexy stewardess Hattie (Nicky Whelan) and investigative journalist Buck Williams (Chad Michael Murray), who steps into the co-heroes’ shoes once the shit hits the fan.

The first piece of Abandoned tells the backstory of family and frustration, while also hammering home the fact that Chloe doesn’t believe in God, because why would anyone believe in something that only causes people pain? (These are roughly her own words.) She’s uncomfortable with her mother’s faith and doesn’t mind telling her new boyfriend Buck all about it.

And then…poof. Everyone’s gone, and everyone starts to panic. I give Abandoned much praise for presenting scenes and sequences that are atypical of disaster films and the like. Director Vic Armstrong does not aim for the jugular by showing us the enormous damage that takes place worldwide. Sure, there are stunts and explosions, but it is not a complete CGI cacophony.

Abandoned much weirder than that, and the weird feelings that the disappearance scene evoked in me had a lot to do with the soundtrack and the music of the film, which sound like it was made by people who only write hospital elevator music.

There are scenes that go from a touching moment (heartbreaking strings) straight into an action beat (drums and guitar) and straight into a racist joke between the people in the first class (light piano). Honestly, the bizarre tonal changes and the musical accompaniment are two of the main reasons to watch Abandoned. You will never say, “This is not happening,” so many times in your life.

It’s strange that Abandoned Screenwriters Paul Lalonde and John Patus, who also wrote Kirk Cameron’s original version, chose to make the entire film revolve around Ray’s escape and Chloe’s fateful search for her brother, one of the missing persons.

It gives Cage little to do but pull cockpit controls and try in vain to communicate with airports, and Thomson is not a leading lady. I didn’t expect anything much different here, but when Cage plays the most down-to-earth character on screen, something has been lost in translation.

He does get a few moments of glory, though. When asked if he’s scared, Ray says, “I will be, when I have the time.” I wish that was Ray’s mission statement in life.

So many choices in AbandonedThe religious angle is the most obtuse of all. Before the believers disappeared, we mostly heard Chloe bitching about God and her mother for following God; after they’re gone, all we see is a world full of sinful people, only a few of whom actually start behaving more virtuously. (People immediately start looting and stealing, who’d have thought.)

The big event does get tied to God at one point, but not in some “this was the bad guy all along” reveal. You get the sense that everyone behind this movie wanted people to say, “Man, that God is a dick. But wait, if he helps all those missing people by sending them to heaven, maybe he’s not so bad after all.”

Presumably there is a sequel underway (there is a whole series of books), where we now get to experience the world trying to rebuild itself. (And then God can look Ray in the eye and say, “Ray. (heavy breathing) I am your father,” and there is a lightsaber fight.)

Do not look Abandoned if you want to see the next great airplane-centric disaster movie, or the next great Christian values ​​movie. Go see it if you want to witness the fifth best comedy of the year and bring a lot of your friends. What the world needs right now is Oppressive power.