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The Weather Man - Review

Nicolas Cage in The Weather Man

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE outlook is sunny for anyone willing to give Gore Verbinski’s bittersweet comedy The Weather Man a go given the strange but compelling journey it takes viewers on.

Nicolas Cage stars as the weather man in question, an everyday guy named David Spritz whose life is as variable as the climate he attempts to predict. Routinely pelted with milkshakes and fast food by disgruntled members of the public, Dave is the kind of guy who has plenty of dark clouds on his horizon.

Primary among these is the failing health of his celebrated writer father (Michael Caine), who has recently been diagnosed with cancer and whose imminent death prompts David to try and get his own life in order.

Yet try as hard as he might, life has a habit of raining on his parade. His daughter (Gemmenne de la Pena) is overweight, bullied at school for being a ‘camel toe’ and generally uninterested in making herself better, his son ( Nicholas Hoult) is entering into a relationship with a counsellor that looks destined to end badly and his no-nonense wife (Hope Davis) is not interested in giving David the second chance he craves.

In desperation, David turns to archery which offers an unlikely form of respite from much of his personal torment.

Having directed the crowd-pleasing summer blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean, Verbinski cleverly shifts gears for The Weather Man, a dark but frequently funny character piece that rewards viewers just as impressively.

The film’s message is simple – that life, like the weather, is impossible to predict and blows all over the place, much like the wind. Yet its aim is true and the film consistently hits all of its targets.

Verbinski strikes a near-perfect blend between laugh-out-loud humour and emotional pathos that only makes his flawed but believable characters more authentic.

Cage is superbly low-key as the dysfunctional David whose inability to apply himself to adult life is both perfectly realised and beautifully relayed. He can be as frustrating to be around as he is frustrated, yet the actor succeeds in providing him with the type of flaws that are all too human and therefore forgiveable.

Likewise Caine, whose similarly minimalist turn as David’s father is both keenly-observed and heartbreakingly poignant.

Significantly, however, the film is nowhere near as depressing as it could have become, expertly counter-balancing the emotional stuff with some genuinely hilarious moments without ever resorting to cheap sentiment or heavy-handed message making. Verbinski’s use of imagery is also quite striking, with the weather (mostly bad) serving as much as a character in the film itself.

The Weather Man is therefore a highly recommended movie that is as multi-layered and colourful as a rainbow.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 102 minutes