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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: April 8: 8MM


April 8: 8MM

"A private investigator is hired to discover if a "snuff film" is authentic or not."

Back by "popular" demand, I begin another week of films and reviews dedicated to the increasingly incredible Nicolas Cage. Cheers to another week of award-winning acting and of course, glorious hair pieces. 
  8MM is one of the those movies I'd see all the time at the video store, sucked in by the aura of Nic Cage's manly, crazy stare on the cover. It's a film I always thought I'd eventually watch but never got around to, probably because I heard pretty bad things about it. Well, with another week of Nicolas Cage movies, I figured I would finally give the movie a shot. I hate to admit it, but I was surprised with 8MM, as it was actually good. It's a dark, disturbing film about the perverse underworld of snuff films and S&M tapes. Cage plays Tom Welles, a private investigator hired to find out if a rich widow's former husband had any involvement in a possible murder caught on film. Welles becomes obsessed with the case and, as he delves deeper into the investigation as well as the naughty little underbelly, he's pushed to the edge and into his own darkness .

The darkness clearly starts growing on the upper lip.

   When you look at the film on paper, you're weary. It's a Cage vehicle directed by Joel Shumacher, who "made" Batman & Robin and The Number 23. Sure, the film would have been much more terrifying in the hands of David Fincher, but Shumacher does a surprisingly good job. The atmosphere captured on film makes you feel dirty and ashamed, and you want to shower afterward then say your prayers. Schumacher gets great performances by the entire cast, especially from Cage and Joaquin Phoenix, who plays his unofficial "partner" in the investigation. 

And he'll sell you a vibrating lady part if you ask politely. 

   Overall, 8MM shows you that Nic Cage used to be a great actor, even though he never seems to shout or cry very well. I think it was, once he discovered his obsession with wigs in Ghost Rider, that the American legend became the American legend-er. The script is pretty solid and the plot keeps you interested, but it's no Se7en or Silence of the Lambs. I'd recommend 8MM, but keep in mind it has a very hard R-rating and isn't for everyone (except for all you perverts). 

The Good:
an interesting premise that doesn't hold back on the violence and disturbing material
The Bad:
the film's first half could use more buildup and more suspense
The Ugly:
seeing that there are actually people out there who get off on this kind of shit

Overall: 7.2/10


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