Today is Nic Cage Day across the Curbediverse, a day for celebrating The Legend and his legendary real estate hijinks. Why? Because Nic Cage.
Between directing the first two Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Gore Verbinski directed a comparably-low budget comedy-drama written by Chicago local Steven Conrad and starring Nicolas Cage. It's a thoughtful melodrama about a man with a deep amount of sadness and despair, who feels empty despite his at-times glamorous role as a TV weatherman on Chicago local news, a career could be on the verge of major advancement. The film was shot extensively within and around Chicago, with lots of authentic bits of Chicago culture sprinkled into the frame and tons of beauty shots of the city for skyline enthusiasts. Most tantalizing, though, is the unbelievable view from Nic Cage's character's apartment.
The apartment, filmed on location at RiverBend condominiums at 333 N Canal Street, a building designed exclusively around the amazing view it offers of the Chicago River's confluence, and down all three branches. The river has always been said to be the best vantage to appreciate Chicago's architecture, as the buildings pose strong against the river's edges, creating canyons of steel, brick, and glass. It's a view so perfect for architecture lovers that its residents are very protective over their downtown views. In fact, residents of the building once tried to stonewall the development of Wolf Point, which threatens to obstruct a portion of the view from RiverBend, to the point of filing a federal lawsuit to stop the three-skyscraper project from breaking ground.
Wolf Point avoided the blockade and is now under construction of its first phase, so RiverBend residents will have to get over it unfortunately. The view will still be pretty spectacular even if they won't be able to see all the way up the main branch of the Chicago River, and it's likely that the new activity in the area will only increase their own property values. In fact, from this building right now you'd be able to watch an upswell of change for the city as the downtown riverfront has become a hotbed of developments, from the Riverwalk extension, to the dueling neighbor office towers being built next door: River Point and 150 N Riverside.
Still though, it's such an amazing view that you can sympathize with wanting to keep it somehow. In some shots you want to pause the movie just to marvel at it, and ponder how such a view would even be possible without being painted over a green screen in a computer. The view is almost a character itself in the movie, it's used as a visual metaphor for the approval Cage's weatherman wants from the city, as he towers over it from his tower in the sky. Different lenses are used to make the view out of the windows react to the character's state of mind.
When he's feeling lost and despondent, the buildings are pulled far away toward the horizon.
When he's later faced with the urgency of making a difficult choice, the shot is tighter. The city, the world is crowding in on him.
It's good visual storytelling in a film about a man who struggles to accept change and let go, and it's a hell of a good view, in a building that was built for a view that it fought maybe a little too hard to hold on to.