"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, May 29, 2010

SNMR 8.8: "8MM"


Private investigator Tom Welles (Nicholas Cage) has just gotten home from an assignment when he receives a phone call from Mrs. Christian, a wealthy elderly woman whose husband recently passed away. Among his personal effects found in a safe in his office was a disturbing, short 8MM snuff film. Mrs. Christian hires Welles to find out who made the film and if the events of the film are real or not. In his search Welles meets young Max California (Joaquin Phoenix), a clerk at an X rated movie store who guides him into the world of underground film making, Eddie Poole (James Gandolfini), a seedy Hollywood film director and Dino Velvet (Peter Stormare), maker of 'fine' snuff films. What will Welles find? Will he get in too deep?

Quite frankly, this film is disturbing on many levels and is not for the faint at heart.

I'm always in the middle of the road when it comes to Nicholas Cage. Some movies he's really good and I like him a lot - others his acting seems flat and uninspired.. This, I think, was one of Cage's stronger performances. Joaquin Phoenix delivers yet another intense performance. James Gandolfini plays to type as the muscled hoodlum, sleazy guy and does it well. Peter Stormare, whom I had never heard of before, was truly creepy. Catherine Keener gives a balanced performance as Cage's wife, contrasting his unusual work life with the peacefulness of domestic life.

Andrew Kevin Walker continues to excel writing creepy thriller type dramas with this screenplay as an encore to the equally creepy Se7en. I thought the ending was a bit cliche' with Cage doing the vigilante justice thing.

With this film, Joel Schumacher continues to prove why he's one of the best directors Hollywood has these days. He always seems to get good performances from his actors.

The DVD extras include a "making of" featurette which was too short and hardly worth watching. However, this is a film that, despite the seedy subject matter, is filled with excellent performances and enough action/suspense to keep you paying attention. If not for the ending, this movie would have garnered a five star rating.

****½ out of *****

8MM (1999, R, 123 minutes), starring Nicholas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare, Anthony Heald, Catherine Keener and Chris Bauer. Screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker. Directed by Joel Schumacher.



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