Ben Oliver

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Raising Arizona

Edwina’s insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase.
02 August 2014

A brilliant early Coen Brothers film and further proof that Nicolas Cage can be great when he wants to be.

He and Holly Hunter play a couple unable to bear a child and unable to adopt due to Cage’s criminal past. They get wind that a rich couple in town have had quintuplets, so decide to steal one and make it their own.

Raising Arizona has all the hallmarks of what makes the Coens great; a black sense of humour, an eye for a great shot and an extraordinary talent for finding supporting characters.

The script is funny but never meanders for the sake of a joke. Every scene has purpose. Cage is at his comedic best, he’s slightly moronic but it’s naive and endearing; Hunter is much the same. They accomplish the difficult task of making child snatchers likeable.

If you’ve been put off by Cage or just because you think comedies age badly, this might just change your mind.