Almost 30 years after initially skyrocketing to indie cred fame by breaking into the home of furniture magnate Nathan Arizona and making off with one of his newborn quintuplets in Joel and Ethan Coen’s Raising Arizona, Nicolas Cage is returning to the baby-snatching game. In Dog Eat Dog—Paul Schrader’s adaptation of Edward Bunker’s crime novel of the same name—plays an ex-convict whose life on the outside careens out of control after he and his partners, Mad Dog (Willem Dafoe) and Diesel (Christopher Matthew Cook) botch a kidnapping assignment from a dangerous crime boss.
This marks the second time that Cage has teamed up with Schrader (Hardcore, American Gigolo) for a crime film. While 2014’s Dying Of The Light was decimated by critics, labeled as “a thriller without thrills” by The A.V. Club’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, the writer-actor team refuses to take full responsibility for that fiasco. Writing on Facebook in May of 2015, Schrader described that first attempt as “a film which was taken from me, recut, scored and mixed without my input, then dumped by a division of Lionsgate appropriately named Grindstone” and said the experiences “marked by demeaning behavior, duplicitousness, venality, artistic vulgarity and flat-out stupidity…” This time around, the 70-year-old filmmaker is excited to have final cut, and he promises better results.
Dog Eat Dog premiered to mixed reviews at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Arclight Films has yet to announce a domestic release date.