“ Genre: Action & Adventure / Theatrical Release: 1998 / Director: Brian De Palma / Actors: Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise ... / DVD released 15 June, 2006 at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainm / Features of the DVD: PAL, Widescreen „
* Prices may differ from that shown
Firstly, I must start this review by making it clear that this is a film only review.
Duration - 1 hour 34 minutes
Rating - 15 years of age
What a great name for a film! This 1998 crime thriller is directed by Brian De Palma, famous mainly for the cult classic 'Scarface.' Starring in the lead role of bent cop Detective Rick Santoro is Nicolas Cage, who gives a cracking performance. Also featured is Gary Sinise as US Navy Commander Kevin Dunne, John Heard as the casino owner Gilbert Powell as well as a few lesser known actors and actresses. The main draw of this movie is not the cast however, it is the cracking plot. After a slow start it soon gets going and takes many twists and turns along the way, making for a rollercoaster ride.
The film begins by introducing the main character - Rick Santoro. He's an Atlantic City detective cop with a taste for the so called good life, women, gambling and fast cars. On a night off from work he gets front row seats to the heavyweight championship of the world boxing at the Atlantic City Arena from his close friend and previous colleague Kevin Dunne (US Navy Commander). It's the last event to take place there before it is pulled down and there is a hurricane in town. Something is bound to go wrong.
A few minutes into the fight and one of the fighters is floored or takes a dive as we later find out. The sell out crowd go wild, but things go from bad to worse. The Secretary of Defence who is a special guest at the event and is being protected by Dunne and his security team is assasinated and the stadium goes into lockdown. Immediately a night off for Santoro becomes the biggest case and challenge of his career as a cop. He springs into action and takes a lead on the investigation. But what happens? Who killed him and why? Do they get away?
So is it any good then?
For a film made fifteen years ago and with a mediocre cast it a very good watch. After a rather slow and boring start to be honest, it soon jumps into life once the boxing gets going. Clever writing and directing turns what is essentially a very simple plot into a gripping crime thriller, which leaves you seeking an explanation as the film evolves. It is easy viewing though and the time soon passes as people make their escape and the true reasons behind the assasination are brought to light. It does turn rather political, but for the right reasons.
I watched the film on BT Vision films, but it can be purchased online for under two pounds, which i think is rather a bargain.
Overall i would give 'Snake Eyes' Four Dooyoo Stars ****
Thanks for reading - feel free to comment.
"Snake Eyes" is a 1998 thriller which was directed by Brian De Palma, who has directed such blockbusters as "Scarface" (1983), "Casualties of War" (1989) and "Mission: Impossible" (1996).
Warning: Spoilers will likely be given during this review.
The film is 98 minutes in length and stars Nicolas Cage ("Leaving Las Vegas", "Con Air", "Gone in Sixty Seconds") as Detective Rick Santoro, Gary Sinise ("Forrest Gump", "The Green Mile", "The Stand") as Commander Kevin Dunne, and Carla Gugino ("Righteous Kill", "Spy Kids", "American Gangster") as Julia Costello.
The plot for the film reads as follows: A shady police detective finds himself in the middle of a murder conspiracy at an important boxing match in an Atlantic City casino.
Rick Santoro is a detective with a certain air of invincibility about him, which is shown during the opening scenes as he arrives to watch a heavyweight boxing match, in the company of his best friend, Kevin Dunne, a Commander of the US Navy. The main focus on the film is based around the US Secretary of Defense who has been shot by an unknown gunman inside the arena and it's down to Santoro to solve the case and in doing so, begins to realise that all is not what it seems with his friend. Is it any good? Let's find out!
So here it is, the last ever event at the Atlantic City Arena, a heavyweight title fight between reigning champion Lincoln Tyler, and challenger, Jose Ruiz. The ring announcer, played by Jean-Paul Chartrand, does his best Michael Buffer impression as he introduces the fighters to the audience and soon after, the hugely anticipated fight gets underway. The Secretary of Defense is shot moments after Tyler is knocked to the ground and in the ensuing pandemonium, Santoro notices Tyler isn't as groggy as he is supposed to be and realises that he probably took a dive. His suspicions are later confirmed as he watches CCTV footage which shows Tyler on the end of a 'phantom punch'.
There is a scene where Santoro is in the casino's camera room, when they're checking all the different angles. You know that annoyance we all have when you spot an actor or actress that you've seen in something before? This happened to me with Walt McGahn, played by Mike Starr, when I had to pause the film and find out he was in "Dumb and Dumber" as 'Mental' Joe Mentalino. I also found out he was in "Goodfellas" and with it being one of my all-time favourite films, you would think I'd remember!
There is some really good use of split screen technology while the different scenarios are being played out during the film. These scenarios included various angles of inside the arena at the time of the shooting, which, over time, shed more light on what really happened and who was behind it all. It was during one of these scenes where Santoro realises his friend was dirty and part of the murder plot, and there is a wonderful cat and mouse segment where he and Dunne are scouring the casino's hotel hallways looking for Julia, who witnessed the shooting and had tricked a patron into taking her to his room to seek shelter. I did enjoy how they were played out, as each one showed something different, building up to the climax. Perhaps the most poignant scene comes where Dunne is trying to buy Santoro off and enlist him into his scheme, whereupon the detective is having none of it. The camera, pausing for effect, settles on a wad of cash which is bloodstained. I thought the effect was really clever, as it signified blood money.
There is another powerful scene where Santoro is being beaten senseless by Tyler, who has been paid by Dunne, and you can't help but feel sorry for him. There is a slightly (ok, very) unrealistic bit though where the heavyweight boxer couldn't knock him out, yet Dunne puts him out cold with one punch. Stan Shaw, who plays Lincoln Tyler, is a convincing boxer and was actually in a deleted scene of "Rocky", and was also a boxer in "Tough Enough". Speaking of Santoro, Nicolas Cage's character is a wild and whacky guy who likes to bend the rules. He's very probably on drugs, though it's never shown during the film but is suggested near the end. The film's score is excellent. It's serious at the right moments, sinister in others, and brilliantly edited to fit each scene.
In summary, I've always liked the majority of Nicolas Cage films, and this is no exception. It might not be to everyone's taste, but when he was given these parts, he played them to perfection and gets right into the meat and potatoes of the role in question. He's helped along by Gary Sinise here, who takes his role seriously and likely got his part as Burt Hammersmith in "The Green Mile" on the back of this film. Brian De Palma is one of those directors that actors love to hate, but I, for one, cannot see why. This man gets results behind the camera, and "Snake Eyes" is one of those films that I can watch over and over again without ever getting bored.
The critics were mixed in their reception of the film:
Variety: "Wispy threads of dramatic plausibility and character involvement unravel completely by the time of the incredibly silly final reel."
USA Today: "The film sports some of the most breathtaking filmmaking of De Palma's career -- and Nicolas Cage is the one actor who cannot be upstaged by it."
New York Times: "A great big juicy gob of apocalyptic paranoia."
Chicago Sun-Times: "It's the worst kind of bad film: the kind that gets you all worked up and then lets you down, instead of just being lousy from the first shot."
Entertainment Weekly: "Has Brian De Palma finally lost his mind? Ever since "Carrie", his one true masterpiece, this director has evolved into a cinematic serial killer of common sense."
My rating: 8/10
Ive been an admirer of Nicholas Cages work for quite a while and feel that during the mid to late 90s he seemed to be doing his best work. In 98 Cage linked up with director Brian De Palma to create a film revolving around one night in Atlantic City. While the critics and casual movie goers wrote off this film I was still keen to see it purely because Cage is one of my favourite actors. I dont normally listen to critic reviews anyway and that was certainly the case with this.
Cage stars as an Atlantic City cop, Rick Santoro, who seems to know how to have a good time. On this particular night hes managed to score a ticket to the big championship boxing match thanks to his good friend Commander Kevin Dunne (Gary Sinise). During the match as one of the boxers hits the canvas a shot rings around the stadium killing a key politician sat just behind Santoros seat. For the rest of the night Santoro begins an investigation into what happened with his only clues being the dead shooter and his target. Something doesnt seem right to Santoro and he is determined to find out what it is, but first he must find the mystery blond sat beside the Secretary of Defence moments before he was killed.
The start of the film shows quite a bit of promise. There is certainly a plot here that could go somewhere and for the first 40 or so minutes it has the feel of a suspense driven film that will keep you guessing all the way through. Unfortunately I found that once the first half of the film was out of the way they tried to rush the ending so as not to make the film too much longer than an hour and a half. For me this detracted from the impact and promises the opening half of the film had shown. It becomes very obvious and loses the entertaining edge that seemed to come largely from the endless possibilities at the beginning.
Ive been quite a keen admirer of a lot of De Palmas work, for instance I loved The Untouchables and Scarface, but thought De Palma let him self down a little with this one. Like the plot itself De Palmas direction starts out pretty well. The start of the film uses certain camera angles and shot to create confusion and intrigue, but it seems to get to a point in the film and this suddenly fizzles out. From there the camera work and direction seems to lose focus and the rush to finish the film takes over and the ending especially left me feeling rather disappointed.
The film of two halves syndrome seems to creep into just about everything. With the combination of De Palma and David Koepp (Spiderman) writing the script for Snake Eyes, it seems odd that it can go from having so much promise to a massive disappointment. Not only does the directing, script and story really lose its way but even the special effects and continuity on screen seems to slide away in the second half of the movie. The promise died away too quickly and the promise of an excellent film becomes distinctly average.
Even the acting seems to suffer from this syndrome. Cage himself I thought was excellent throughout but he seems to be one of only a few constants in the movie. His performance reminds me a lot of his role in Face Off, a role I consider to e his best performance to date. Alongside Cage, Gary Sinise puts in a pretty decent performance. He does seem to lose a slight edge to his character towards the end but the suspense driven role really seems to suit him. He works well with Cage and the different character traits seem to define one from the other. As the films quality drops it detracts from Sinises performance purely because too much of his character is revealed too early.
The rest of the cast are pretty average. Carla Gugino plays the mystery woman and there seems to be something lacking from her performance. It seems largely clumsy throughout and rather than add another dimension to the plot, they seem to have focussed too much on the damsel in distress type of role. There are no real stand out characters and had Sinise and Cage not been cast in the lead roles this film could easily have lost even that plus. The acting is of quite a high standard throughout from both but like the rest of the film are let down in the last half of the movie by the giveaway of just a little too much detail.
Overall Snake Eyes is a film that promises a lot to begin with but half way through it seems to seriously loose its way. As De Palma films go it seems to be missing the usual cutting edge weve come to expect from his movies. The script reveals too much at once and for that reason the suspense is drained out in one go and the ending left me feeling very flat. If its on TV then its a film I could recommend watching but Id certainly advise anyone thinking of watching it not to spend any money. Its a reasonable film but there are far more flaws and disadvantages than positives.
Amazon Marketplace: £2.49
Snake Eyes, on paper, sounds like a good film. Directed by Brian De Palma (Carrie, Mission Impossible), written by David Koepp (Spider-Man, Panic Room), and starring the heavyweight acting combination of Nicholas Cage (Face/Off) and Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump). How then, does it all go so wrong?
Well mainly, because the plot isn't up to much. Cage plays a somewhat crooked cop, Rick Santoro, who is at a casino-held boxing match when a government official of some sort is assassinated. Oh and there's a completely pointless hurricane going on outside. Looking at this event from multiple perspectives and speaking to witnesses who were there (obviously), he tries to piece together what is going on. However, he soon discovers that a betting scam, a mysterious blonde and an old friend of his may have something to do with a government cover-up, and that more than just the police investigation is going on inside the casino.
Well at least I think that's what it's about, because this film doesn't spend too long worrying about the story, instead opting for outrageously long single takes and ultra-stylish cinematography. Whilst I admit the opening 18-minute long shot is dizzyingly impressive (even though some say it was actually 3 well edited separate shots), surely a film's priorities lie elsewhere? Apparently not according to Brian De Palma, and cue a multitude of cameras drifting over the walls of rooms to see what's happening inside, split screens and first person camera angles.
Fortunately, this film does have some stronger features, hence the 2 stars rather than 1. Nicholas Cage plays a character who is thoroughly smarmy and dislikeable (cheating on his wife) despite supposedly being the hero. However, he does give a great performance. I got the feeling that this was his natural persona; he seemed so comfortable with it. I think that Stan Shaw is also quite good as the boxer involved with throwing a fight. Unfortunately, Gary Sinise and Carla Gugino (from Spy Kids I think) aren't exactly on the top of their game.
The script is similarly uncaring about coherent plot, let alone plot development, and tries to be hip and clever (sadly failing on both counts). The baddie is just too bad, the goody isn't actually that nice, and neither of them have anything good to say, the best line probably being "Don't give me the hurt look. You don't have the face for it." Which is crap. Gugino spends the film running round looking scared and confused, and although this is quite realistic considering she's just been shot for no reason, it doesn't make for entertaining cinema.
The story, considering it's supposed to be a suspense thriller, is alarmingly deficient of twists or surprises. I'll tell you now, the identity of the villain is so glaringly obvious from the very first scenes that if I told you who it is I would not be affecting your enjoyment or otherwise of Snake Eyes. Besides, the film tells us who it is about 50 minutes into it, just in case we were too slow to pick it up from the start. Although revealing the identity of the "surprise" baddie halfway through is an unusual gamble, it doesn't pay off whatsoever. From this point on, there is absolutely no suspense.
The two guys are paired off as rivals, and "the baddie" starts following Cage around the casino. The only tension in the entire film is created when they're both trying to reach Gugino in a bedroom before each other, and it's literally a race against time. This part is quite well done. However, towards the end De Palma and Koepp decide to turn it into a kind of hostage/action movie, and it really doesn't work. The hurricane outside makes a ridiculous "saves the day" style appearance, and it's all a bit of a damp squib.
I thought the final scene is actually quite good though, as it shows what has happened to Santoro in the following months, and I was surprised to find that he got what was coming to him. It also leaves possibilities open rather than force feeding the viewer, which is good. The film itself also isn't that long, and at least it moves along briskly.
So, what to make of this film it's hardly a knock-out. I think the best word to describe it is patchy. Some parts work, for example Cage's performance. Also, despite the flashiness being slightly overdone, it was truly a visual treat. However, other parts are really quite poor, including the most important bits (plot, script and several performances). If there is nothing else to watch on TV (like when I saw this) then watch it by all means, and you might be whisked along by the pace of it. However, I wouldn't recommend renting or buying it - there are plenty of better thrillers out there.
Snake Eyes is available to buy online for £5.99 from www.treedvd.com
I am reviewing the film only.
Directed by: Brian De Palma
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Gary Sinise, Carla Gugino, Stan Shaw, John Heard, Kevin Dunn, Luis Guzman
Running Time: 98 minutes
On the outside cover of this DVD was the promise of good entertainment, and they quoted Nicolas Cage as Academy Award Winning although what I failed to read after that was that his awards were for other films. I like Nicolas Cage. His work is usually consistently good, though with this film, I think the poor man must have been in need of money to take on such a weak script that actually gave away its ending within the first half an hour of viewing.
The significance of the name is a little obscure, and as you plough your way through scenario after scenario of loud script reading that sounds more like a rehearsal than the real thing, you may, like me, find that the noise of the film is unecessarily loud, it's characters oversized in the vocal department, and that the plot is extremely weak. From the combination of writer and director, David Koepp and Brian de Palma, I would strongly advise de Palma to carry on doing what he is good at, i.e. Directing, and David Koepp to go back to the drawing board.
The story leads us to believe that a loudmouthed character protrayed a little more like a thug than a cop by a desperate Nicolas Cage battles demons of loyalty with a friendship that goes back to childhood with his counter player, Gary Sinise, whose acting in this particular story is more articulate than Cages although unconvincingly predictable.
Hype is entered into the story when a political assassination takes place, apparently planned in advance for reasons that seem weak and more than a little exaggerated. Taking place at the time of a boxing match, the only really convincing acting was the knock out itself.
Touchstone and Paramount are big names in the film business and it disappoints me that this script even reached their offices, let alone tempted Nicolas Cage, or indeed the Director of this film, Brian de Palma, which comes off as disappointing compared with his other epic direction of films like Mission Impossible and The Untouchables.
Of course, there has to be a woman in the story in an attempt to make the film creditworthy, and here, the subject was trying hard to keep what was otherwise a bad plot on line. Cage's interaction with Carla Gugino was harsh and unrealistic, and in fact the intereaction between the players in this film is daunting, in that each seems to be shouting their lines, rather than interacting with each other.
The cover goes on to give us a description of "Riveting Mystery and heartstopping excitement", although here, I felt that the description was not only untrue, but that there was more riveting mystery and heartstopping excitement in Harry Potter !! Murky, dismal and loud would have been a better description, although who would have been conned out of their tenner for the film with a realistic description.
Running Time : 94 minutes too long.
Rating : 15 although I believe the film to be more harmful to a childs ears and development of imagination than having adult content.
Soundtrack : Drowned by actors attempts at being louder than one another.
Made in 1998 (produced on DVD in 1999) this film be probably best left in the last century.
DVD Quality : Disappointingly murky dark scenes, although I think this was the film rather than the DVD.
DVD Extras : Chapter Search Index although I did not find this much use.
Sound Quality : Excellent though I wish it were not in this instance because of the noisiness of the film
English Language only although there was an interesting subtitle availability for those who are hard of hearing.
Cover design : Better than the film itself.
Dolby Digital, Dolby Surround 2.00
Colour : PAL widescreen format 2.35.1
dual layer format giving warning that layer transition may trigger a slight pause although in my case it did not.
For me; sorry. Unconvincing, disappointing and now available on ebay at 99p !
If I had to complete a list of my top ten actors then there would be a place for Nicholas Cage in my top ten. However while in this film his performance is good his place in my top ten would not be on the actual merits of this film, which, as thrillers go is pretty average.
This 1998 film has Brian De Palma stamped all over it as he was director, producer and along with David Koep wrote the story (not sure if he also made the costumes and the tea). Unfortunately is does not live up to his other great works such as the Untouchables or Mission Impossible.
The movie is set entirely around a world title-boxing event at the Millennium Casino Atlanta. This is an interesting concept to compress the film into one area and certainly it means that there are no car chases to liven up the proceedings instead the film relies on the strength of the actors to carry the thriller. At a relatively early stage the viewer knows who the bad guys are and there are no real twists to the plot instead this film follows a steady storyline with a slightly weak ending.
So to the storyline, Cage plays an Atlanta detective, he is a long way from being a good cop though, he is cheating on his wife and thinks nothing of shaking down criminals, stealing their money which he then passes onto to bookies as he lays large bets on the outcome of the fight. Cage plays his character as a hyper individual who is out for himself. Gary Sinise, who appeared as the bad guy in the Mel Gibson movie Ransom, plays the one person he does care for. Sinise is his old childhood friend who is now a Lieutenant in the military and is at the event as heading up a team tasked with protecting a US senator.
During the fight and at the very point that the odds on champion and former classmate of Cage and Sinise is knocked to the floor shots ring out and the senator is killed. At the same time a young blond woman who is talking to the senator is also wounded, covered in blood she flees the scene and escapes in the stampede of spectators. Cage takes responsibility for the investigation in an attempt to protect his childhood friend who is concerned that he will lose his job over the shooting. Nothing is as it at first seems as Cage discovers as he begins the investigation, which takes him into the world of corrupt boxers and big government defence contracts.
For me this film failed to sparkle, it is no turkey but as I watched it the lack of surprises meant that I started to lose interest well before the final credits. None of the actors produce paticularly strong performances and there is an air of going through the motions to the whole production. There are no special effects to lift the film and not enough suspense to get you on the edge of your seat. It is worth watching but both Cage and De Palma have definately produced much better work.
If I had to ever compile a list of my top ten film actors there would be a place for Nicholas Cage in my top ten. However while in this film his performance is good his place in my top ten would not be on the actual merits of this film, which, as thrillers go is pretty average. This 1998 film has Brian De Palma stamped all over it as he was director, producer and along with David Koep wrote the story (not sure if he also made the costumes). Unfortunately it does not live up to his other great works such as the Untouchables or Mission Impossible. The movie is set entirely around a world title-boxing event at the Millennium Casino Atlanta. This is an interesting concept to compress the film into one area and certainly it means that there are no car chases to liven up the proceedings instead the film relies on the strength of the actors to carry the thriller. At a relatively early stage the viewer knows who the bad guys are and there are no real twists to the plot instead this film follows a steady storyline with a slightly weak ending. So to the storyline, Cage plays an Atlanta detective, he is a long way from being a good cop though, he is cheating on his wife and thinks nothing of shaking down criminals, stealing their money which he then passes onto to bookies as he lays large bets on the outcome of the fight. Cage plays his character as a hyper individual who is out for himself. Gary Sinise, who appeared as the bad guy in the Mel Gibson movie Ransom, plays the one person he does care for. Sinise is his old childhood friend who is now a Lieutenant in the military and is at the event as heading up a team tasked with protecting a US senator. During the fight and at the very point that the odds on champion and former classmate of Cage and Sinise is knocked to the floor shots ring out and the senator is killed. At the same time a young blond woman who is talking to the senator is also wounded, covered in blood she flees the scene and
escapes in the stampede of spectators. Cage takes responsibility for the investigation in an attempt to protect his childhood friend who is concerned that he will lose his job over the shooting. Nothing is as it at first seems as Cage discovers as he begins the investigation, which takes him into the world of corrupt boxers and big government defence contracts. For me this film failed to sparkle, it is no turkey but as I watched it the lack of surprises meant that I started to lose interest well before the final credits. There are no special effects to lift the film and not enough suspense to get you on the edge of your seat. It is worth watching but both Cage and De Palma have produced much better work. The film is put together really well without being over-stylised and the DVD is well produced with good segmentation of the scenes making it easy to cut in and out of the film if you need to for any reason. The DVD extras are disappointing to say the least with nothing to offer other than scene selection and a captions option. The film is a cert 15 and contains some language and scenes of violence. The DVD is currently available at Amazon for £6.98 which is a fair price.
Brian de Palma’s Snake Eyes is a movie which you are going to love for 90% of its running time and then suddenly hate with a vengeance. Its one of those slicky filmed, slicky acted movies which has a fairly obvious plot but is ultimately highly entertaining until the dreaded deus ex machina ending kicks in and ruins everything which has come before. The ending here makes no bloody sense whatsoever, comes completely out of the blue and completely wrecks what is otherwise an entertaining affair. I have to admit that I only watched this because Nicholas Cage was in the title role. I hadn’t been much of a fan of his until around two years ago when a rental of Face/Off completely changed my view of him and I actually got the ‘point’ of his acting style, since when I have endeavoured to check out everything he has starred in. Without him I wouldn’t have watched what otherwise reads as another painting by numbers thriller - which is exactly what this is, but spiced up by a few key elements. Firstly., this movie takes place in ‘real time’, a 2/3 hour investigation taking place in around the same length of time which is something of a first for a thriller. The action takes place inside a casino during a heavyweight boxing championship which hurricane Jezebel rages outside. Cage plays another oddball character, this time Nick Santoro, a corrupt Atlantic city policeman in a loud Hawaiian shirt come to watch the fight and burn some chips. He is invited to sit with Kevin Dunne(not played by actor Kevin Dunne who you’ll see elsewhere in the movie but by Gary Sinise) an old friend and at the fight with the Secretary of Defence - he is head of the secretary’s defence detail. Just your typical big fight night - then all hell breaks loose. A woman in red catches Dunne’s eye by lingering around the area, he approaches her and she runs off into the crowd, drawing him away from his post. Meanwhile a woman in w
hite sits in Dunne’s seat next to the secretary, the knockout punch is thrown, the crowd goes wild and a shot takes the secretary in the throat - killing him on the spot. Mayhem ensues as everyone runs for the exits and the woman now inthe blood-spattered white dress disappears into the crowd! Santoro, morally corrupt and Dunne a decorated ‘hero’ investigate but must do so fast as the co-conspirators in the murder seem to be turning up with a terminal case of death before they can be caught or questioned. Aside from there being some 14,000 witnesses in the joint it seems that this is no open and shut case and the plot thickens when the number of conspirators seems to grow to include an increasing number of people, including the boxer who looks to have thrown the fight... The first thing which strikes you about this movie is the technical excellence of the camerawork. Brian de Palma isn’t exactly known for controlling his excesses and here would be another example of that. Snake Eyes could just have easily have been a reference to the way the camera behaves in the opening section of the movie, snaking around the corridors of the building in Cage’s footsteps in a sequences which runs for 20 minutes without a cut. De Palma is more than happy to introduce a variety of weird angles and cuts throughout the movie, utilising the split screen effect to show two things happening at once and showing the action through the eyes of the principal players on more than oe occasion - most effective when one of them has lost their glasses and everything is blurred out. However - as is so often the case, you tend to get the feeling that the artistry behind the camera is being used to cover up for the movie’s shortcomings. Pulling out all the stops in the technical department may just pull the wool over a few viewers eyes over the real quality of this movie and to be fair, often does, but underneath the highly polished surface Snake Eyes is
a movie which is rather flawed to say the least. Putting aside the bloody awful ending for now, there are a number of other problems. Firstly, I’m not too sure about casting Cage in the role he has been given. Granted he puts in another excellent performance, but his character is little more than bits and pieces of other characters he has plays, cobbled together from movies like Face/Off and Con Air full of the usual quirks and nuances which make him so watchable. But, you just feel that he doesn’t quit fit the role and your opening introduction to him is so overplayed that its almost self-parody. Gary Sinise is a much more stable(wooden you might say) character but again this is a character you’ll have seen him play 100 times before to the point where its like seeing Lieutenant Dan from forrest Gump having switched jobs! Typecasting is one thing,just transplanting characters from one movie to another is something else entirely. One thing I did like about this movie was how the clues piece together. Picturing the assassination from different angles as seen by the principal players drops more clues to what happened and why, but of course having pieced it all together a sloppy ending crashes in to ruin it all. Some of the build up to the ending is almost of the same standard as a Hitchcock movie on best form, which is why the payoff is such a huge disappointment.The plot does twist and turn and there are so many ways in which the title Snake Eyes is woven into the general fabric of the coversation and the plot/stylistics that makes it quite fun as well. Snake Eyes isn’t a bad movie, and for most of its running length it looks like one of the best thrillers for a long time but it doesn’t manage to sustain that level of ingenuity. I suppose you ask yourself one question - does a crappy ending ruin an entire movie for you? For me the answer is yes, when its really bad, otherwise add another star to the rating.
Snake Eyes is a Brian De Palma film in many aspects. He directed it, he also produced it and he came up with the story along with David Koepp. Nic Cage stars as an Atlantic City cop who is as a big boxing match when he is witness to a political asassination. Naturally the culprit must be in the building but with an arena full of spectators it's going to be hard finding the culprit. His investigation uncovers some secrets best left untouched. The film is basically your average thriller and is another average feather in De Palmas hat. Cages character is very highly wired and over the top at time. He's also cheating on his wife so basically he's a bit of a git and as a result you don't have as much respect for him. By the end it all becomes a bit silly with a big storm sequence which detracts from what could have been a tense and tightly woven film. For film buffs there is one thing worth seeing this film for. One sequence in the film runs for twenty minutes and is a seamless steadicam shot throughout (although it's actually three very discrete cuts). The staging of this is simply amazing and shows that De Palma does have some style behind the camera. So what about the dvd ? Well the film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and as with most titles from Beuna Vista of recent years the transfer is very good. It's sharp and clean with a very good balance of colour. Soundwise the film has a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that is mainly based at the front speakers but during crowd scenes and the storm sequences the rears are in effect. On the extras front with most early Buena Vista early dvd releases there isn't much. If you count interactive menus and scene access as features then you're in for a treat as it has both ! However for the majority that see these as standard thnigs on a dvd then there is nothing else on offer, not even a trailer of a lame EPK featurette. A p
oor show all round. If it wasn't for the good picture persentation then this wouldn't be worth your time. As it stands get it if you like the film.
Brian De Palma's 1998 thriller is largely an exercise in airing out his orchestral, oversized visual style (think of his Blowout, Body Double or Raising Cain) for the heck of it. The far-fetched story featuresNicolasCage as a crooked police detective attending a championship boxing match at which the Secretary of Defence is assassinated. The unfortunate Secretary's right-hand man (Gary Sinise) happens to be Cage's old friend, a fact that complicates the cop's efforts to reconstruct the crime from conflicting accounts--a directorial strategy bearing similarities to Kurosawa's Rashomon. The outrageousness of the scenario essentially gives DePalma permission to construct a baroque cathedral of spectacular camera stunts, which (he well knows) are inevitably more interesting than the hoary conspiracy plot. (The opening scene alone, which runs on for a number of minutes and consists of one, unbroken shot that moves in from the street, following Cage up and down stairs and in and out of rooms until finally ending ringside at the match, is breathtaking.) The shifting points of view--based on the contradictory statements of witnesses--also give De Palma licence to get creative with camera angles and scene rearrangements. The script bogs down in the third act but De Palma is just revving up for a big, operatic finish that is absolutely gratuitous but undeniably impressive. Yes, it's style over substance in Snake Eyes but what style you're talking about.--Tom Keogh