Treasure” is a completely illogical mid-grade thriller starring Nicholas Cage
who is not known for his ability to sustain such ventures. We flock to the illogicals when the suspense is high (“Air
Force One”) the star glamorous (Harrison Ford) or the story clever (“The
Thomas Crown Affair”). This movie
has none of those things. Why go?
Go for producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s bright imagery, sharp photography
if it is the overture to “The Da Vinci Code” which is now in production,
“National Treasure” is rooted in an historical mystery whose solution is the
movie’s plot. The treasure that
claims the attention of generations of the Gates family is something that was
Gates family needs to solve the puzzle in order to refute accusations that they
are conspiracy theorists. It is
only when Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicholas Cage) grows into his own passion for
the hunt that the search catches fire. Ben
has a talent, somewhat akin to Professor X’s x-ray mind, for deciphering the
clues that were laid down to bedevil the British.
So far, so great.
at this point that you need not only to suspend your desire for credibility, but
to bury it deeply for two hours. Benjamin
has discovered that the next clue is written on the back of the Declaration of
Independence. So has his
competitor, Ian Howe (Sean Bean). How
can they examine the fabled document? They
must steal it. A beautiful National
Archives executive, Dr. Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) mocks Ben’s theory but
falls in love with him anyway and becomes his accomplice. Jon Voight and Harvey Keitel play good guys while Justin
Bartha generates a little much needed comic relief as Ben’s techno nerd
obligatory explosions and car chases kick in for a while until we begin to yawn.
What saves the film is the bright, lingering photography of
Nicholas Cage has not one ounce of visible humor, not a drop of irony, no wink to let us know he is having fun. He never brings us into the game. You will be sorely tested many times – most surely perhaps, when Ben and Abby squeeze the juice of sliced lemons onto the back of the stolen Declaration and then breathe their newly hot breaths on the puddle to bring up the invisible writing. It’s a laugh out loud moment, but only the audience seems to know it’s funny.
Copyright (c) Illusion
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