Review: ‘Grand Isle’, Nic Cage As A Grizzled Vietnam Vet…Sure, Why Not

As long as Nicolas Cage keeps pumping out the B-rated films, people will keep watching. Sort of like Field of Dreams – “if you build it, he will come” except in this case it’s “If Nic Cage is in it, at least some friends will gather with popcorn, probably a couple of beers, and sit back to enjoy the ride.” That’s exactly how I felt with Primal earlier this year (Jaguar vision FTW) and Grand Isle is no different. This version of Nicolas Cage is a Vietnam veteran named Walter living in a Victorian home with his neglected wife Fancy (KaDee Strickland) in 1988. Their marriage is clearly on the rocks – Walter drinking all day and Fancy wishing he was still the man she had fallen in love with. The two of them do not pass up any opportunity to put the other one down with a quick jab – regardless of whose company they may be in.

Buddy (Luke Benward) and his wife have just welcomed a new child into the world and Buddy is desperately trying to find work to make ends meet. Walter happens to need someone to fix his fence, and there you have it – Buddy and Walter’s paths cross. Walter wants the fence to be finished in a single day and offers Buddy a handsome bonus for doing so – plus there is a hurricane rolling through town so time is really of the essence. Buddy unfortunately does not complete the job in time, and on top of that his truck won’t start – so he begrudgingly accepts Walter and Fancy’s offer to stay with them until the storm dies down…a decision he may live to regret.

Grand Isle is not shot chronologically. Director Stephen S. Campanelli and writers Iver William Jallah and Rich Ronat show very early on that Buddy has been arrested and is being questioned by Detective Jones (Kelsey Grammer). The rest of the film is Buddy going through and telling Detective Jones everything that happened the night before, after the hurricane hit Grand Isle. Seeing as how Buddy is beat up and covered in blood, one can fairly assume that the prior night was anything short of dull. Look, Grand Isle is not an Oscar contender here – you have to know what you are getting yourself into. It is a B-rated movie at best, but I can truthfully say – I have seen MUCH worse. There are some good lines and you can add Walter to the list of absurd characters that Cage has played in the past. There is an old timey feel to the film that Campanelli pulls off fairly well with the music and cinematic choices really helping bring that to light. Grand Isle does keep you guessing at what is actually going on in Walter and Fancy’s house – we all know that multiple locks on the basement door is never a good sign, but what is this crazy couple really up to? Grand Isle won’t be for everyone, die hard Nic Cage fans will of course be tuning in – but there is enough here that others should be able to get a kick out of a decent amount of the film. Your best bet is to keep your expectations in check, get some friends together, and turn Grand Isle into a ridiculous Netflix movie night that you can all laugh about and enjoy.

2.5 out of 5