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The Runner is a well-meaning character study with an admirably cynical ending, but it’s too cold to ever fully draw you in.
New York Daily News
The Runner, while painfully low-budget and a little patchy, is an interesting look at how sausage is made.
The A.V. Club
There’s no revenge, no murder, and no kidnapping. It’s a low-budget New Orleans Cage movie with some dignity. It would be a pleasure to report that The Runner is also good, but this slim if mildly compelling film lands somewhere between character sketch and morality tale.
The problem is the movie never gives us a reason to care about Colin in the first place, or even to dislike him that much, if that’s how we’re supposed to feel. Colin is neutral, a kind of empty vessel, and Mr. Cage is his typical aloof self with a "Con Air" accent.
The Runner doesn’t lack for drama, but the characters are so thinly and predictably drawn, and the movie’s supposed insights into the art of political compromise so banal, that nothing catches fire.
The film tackles its issues with a furrowed-brow solemnity that eventually spills into outright sluggishness.
Los Angeles Times
The plodding film goes awfully heavy on script exposition and all too light on character depth, leaving Cage and company — including a smartly cast Peter Fonda as his been-there, done-that alcoholic dad — to come up with their own complexity.
Writer-director Austin Stark’s film crams a lot into 90 minutes, leaving no room for grace notes, little time for the heart that this truncated story cries out for.
The New York Times
All of the characters here are underwritten, and Mr. Cage and most of the other actors don’t seem to be putting much effort into them.
New York Post
In The Runner, the latest Nicolas Cage film to roll off his one-man assembly line of shoddy cinema, the star looks almost as tired of acting as I am of watching his acting.
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