Nicolas Cage's roles have ranged from heroes (Con-Air), terrorists (Face/Off), and helpless alcoholics (Leaving Las Vegas), and now he plays a private investigator in 8mm. No surprise. From the previews, 8mm seems like the harmless, "conspiracy theory" movie where the good guy stumbles across a much larger situation than he first thought. It is not like that at all. 8mm does not have a vast conspiracy behind it, nor is it harmless. It is a disturbing, yet skillfully done piece of work that goes one extra level too far on the ladder of decency.
By no means is 8mm is a disturbing movie in the way of director or screenwriter obsession... It is a disturbing movie in content, and those who can't handle it shouldn't watch it. There is a lot of pornography, which is the sick part, but luckily Schumacher showed discretion. It was just the idea of this kind of society that is disturbing, and that is what the movie is based on. Some person just did the ultimate sick flick by filming a girl get murdered.
8mm is not a "who-dunnit" film, but the one person that is involved with the film in two different ways was pretty obvious. That doesn't really mattered; I just wanted to note that I figured out who was behind it a good hour before they revealed the person.
Nicholas Cage is good in the film, but the previews, of course, overdo it when they say it is his most "provocative role." He couldn't do it in this movie (no one could), so why say it? The answer is simple: To get people to come to this film, because no one in their right mind would go see it again. It's not that it is a bad movie... it's okay, but the movie is just not something you would see twice. I can hardly recommend seeing it at all. Action is slim, at best, and the plot is not extricate. The idea of seeking out a girl who was apparently murdered on film was interesting, but the movie sort of loses touch of it. There are a lot of scenes of guys "jerking off" and overall, the film is rather boring. Now, to contradict myself, it was suspenseful the whole way through, but nothing really happened.
The movie really changed course in the last half hour, though. During two scenes, I actually found myself clenching my fist, which does not happen often. The "apparent" ending was suspenseful, and luckily Schumacher didn't decide to throw in a couple of explosions just for Hollywood's sake. Unfortunately, 8mm didn't end there. If it had ended when I thought it was going to end, it would have gotten a higher ranking. Instead, it dragged on for an extra half hour, and the phrase, "the Devil don't change... The Devil changes you," comes into effect. It did not excite me.
8mm hovers in between two stars and two and a half stars, but is definitely on the lower end. It is captivating, for a while, and then you realize there isn't much value to the movie. If you do go see it, be prepared for something other than you expected...
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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