There are a number of contributing factors that get me excited for a movie. Of course there is the obvious — a great plot synopsis — but sometimes just seeing a familiar face is reason enough. My latest excitement came at seeing the involvement of the ever-busy Nicolas Cage and the movie in question is Stephen S. Campanelli’s Grand Isle.
A struggling new father must prove his innocence as he recalls the events of a dark and stormy night stuck in a house with a married couple who were harboring more than just resentment towards each other.
As I’ve already mentioned, the one and only thing that drew me to Grand Isle was the involvement of Nicolas Cage. Now, I’ve never been the biggest Cage fan… Hell, I can’t recall more than maybe six movies that I’ve ever seen him in. With his latest projects, however, I could not resist seeing him in yet another genre film.
In Grand Isle, Cage plays an ex-Marine who is stuck in a seemingly very unhappy marriage. He’s joined by the very talented Luke Benward (Field of Lost Shoes) and KaDee Strickland (Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid), as Buddy and Fancy, respectively.
All three performers do a wonderful job with their roles and it is certainly entertaining seeing the various interactions between them unfold throughout the film’s 97 minutes. Benward’s Buddy is ex-Navy and is currently struggling to make end’s meat to provide for his wife and baby daughter; Strickland’s Fancy is an unhappy wife who has no problem seducing a younger man right in front of her lousy drunkard husband.
It is clear right from the start that Grand Isle will be exposing some pretty dark secrets, secrets that all three of these main characters must come to grips with. Because this is made evident rather early on, it does a tremendous job of keeping the level of suspense rather high, especially for a movie that is paced rather slowly throughout its entirety.
The hour and 37 minutes that it takes for Grand Isle to tell its tale did not feel as long, which is saying a lot in a day and age where my attention span is almost completely non-existent.
Aside from the impressive performances, Grand Isle has a few other things to offer. Director Stephen S. Campanelli has spent most of his film career as a steadicam and camera operator. While he was not behind the camera himself (that duty went to cinematography Eric Moynier), it is clear that this 30+ years of experience certainly lent a hand in making this film as good looking as possible.
Grand Isle at Home
Grand Isle is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Screen Media. The film is presented in a 2.40 Anamorphic format with 5.1 Surround Sound and 2.0 Stereo audio tracks and optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Unfortunately, Screen Media’s home release does not contain any bonus material to supplement this 2019 film.
Grand Isle is not very explicit; It does not contain much blood or gore, but it is still a very enjoyable watch. Performances by Cage, Strickland, and Benwarth are impressive, and the added bonus of prolific actor Kelsey Grammer to the cast goes a long way, helping to make this cast a must-see ensemble.
The film keeps a steady pace, building suspense and tension along the way, leading to a dark climax that is definitely worth your time.
Pick up Grand Isle for yourself, as I give it 3.5 dirty little secrets out of 5.