Nicolas Cage Is More Unhinged Than Ever In Tense Mystery Thriller

By Robert Scucci | Published

When I first saw the trailer for Nicolas Cage’s Sympathy for the Devil, my first thought was, “Oh man, he’s going to be channeling some serious Vampire’s Kiss energy in this one!” I was right to make this assumption because his Passenger character in Sympathy for the Devil comes off as an updated version of Peter Loew, who once famously yelled the alphabet at his therapist while flailing his arms around like a madman for no apparent reason whatsoever.

After finally scratching this title off of my Nicolas Cage bucket list, I can confirm with confidence that this is one of his more unhinged roles, and I mean that as a compliment of the highest order.

Sympathy For The Devil

Sympathy for the Devil tells a story that starts out simple at first, but gets increasingly complicated as it unfolds. The film’s protagonist, David Chamberlain (Joel Kinnaman), is on his way to a Las Vegas hospital because he’s an expectant father, and his wife is in labor. Upon entering the parking garage, Nicolas Cage’s character, simply known as The Passenger, lets himself into David’s car, pulls out a gun, and tells him to drive.

Nicolas Cage At His Most Unhinged

nicolas cage

Nicolas Cage is absolutely menacing in Sympathy for the Devil because he doesn’t explain to David who he is, what his intentions are, or where they’re going. The Passenger wears a red suit, has red hair, and frequently takes long swigs from a flask that he keeps hidden in his breast pocket as if he is dressed for the occasion and has been waiting patiently for the right moment to terrorize David.

David, who wants to be by his wife’s side because she’s had complicated pregnancies in the past, tries to keep his cool but also tries to seek out help whenever The Passenger lets his guard down.

Kinnaman Sells His Role With Subtle Acting

David’s behavior is also suspicious in Sympathy for the Devil because his facial expressions suggest that he knows Nicolas Cage’s character to some degree.

Whenever David is asked questions about his personal life, he never gives a complete answer or changes the subject. When The Passenger gets other innocent people involved in what seems to be some revenge arc, David remains eerily calm despite the extenuating circumstances, as if he knows how the evening is going to end.

Things Keep Getting Worse

As matters continue to escalate in Sympathy for the Devil, Nicolas Cage does what he does best and acts like a complete psychopath whenever the opportunity presents itself. But as terrifying as The Passenger is, his behavior never seems over-the-top in this context. Conversely, Joel Kinnaman‘s deadpan delivery doesn’t necessarily make David a sympathetic character, even though he’s portrayed as the victim in this story.

You’ll Root For The Passenger

Without fully understanding The Passenger’s motives, I found myself laughing out loud and rooting for him because he comes off as too confident to be fully in the wrong despite his propensity for violence. From his cartoonish bickering when he gets interrupted to how he nonchalantly rips open Sweet ‘N Low packets with his teeth while holding up a diner at gunpoint, The Passenger clearly has a screw loose, but he’s grounded enough to let the audience know that he may not be as insane as he’s letting on.

Available Through Video On Demand


Sympathy for the Devil is a wild ride from the vibrant city lights to the seedy outskirts of Las Vegas that is as suspenseful as it is hilarious. If you want to laugh at violence you’re not supposed to laugh at and cringe at humor that has no right being placed into scenes that are brimming with so much tension; then you need to check out this Nicolas Cage film as soon as you can.

As of this writing, you can stream Sympathy for the Devil on AMC+ with an active subscription. You can also rent the title on-demand through Fandango At Home, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, and Google Play.