Toiling in the underworld represented by a furnace and loaves of bread; a sweaty, dirty, and half-naked in a sleeveless undershirt, Ronny played by Nicolas Cage reveals a wooden hand which looks sinister and disproportionally large.
He launches into a passionate philosophical monologue on “What is life?” as he ironically throws baguettes disdainfully into a basket. (Life is not bread) His emotions range from misdirected blame, jealousy, vengeance, violence, sadness, and defeat. At the end, he sulks away. It is an acting tour de force, almost misplaced and awkward in its own drama and passion.
Upstairs in the light of windows and the sweet notes of Puccini’s La Bohème, Cher’s character Loretta offers up a consolation in the form of a home-cooked medium rare steak and a reinterpretation of his past. This unleashes a wave of competing emotions unable to express itself other than through destruction, force, and sexual release, unknowingly establishing his longed for equilibrium of past wrongs and future rights. After the tumultuous release and the appearance of a full moon, the almost bestial Ronny transforms into civilized and peaceful lover of life and art. In a movie about the ordinary, Ronny is the movie magic.