“8MM” Is About How Far Ahead You Can See In This Movie

by Nicholas Robinson


A small, seemingly innocuous plastic reel of film leads surveillance specialist Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) down an increasingly dark and frightening path. With the help of the streetwise Max (Joaquin Phoenix), Welles relentlessly follows a bizarre trail of evidence to determine the fate of a complete stranger. As his work turns into obsession, he drifts farther and farther away from his wife, family and simple life as a small-town private eye. – IMDB.com

I have started to finally go through the movies that are in my house that I have NOT seen before.  My method is pretty random in the sense that I go in alphabetic order taking the first movie and then any movie that relates to it by genre, actor or director.  So with 8MM as my start I shall be watching detective movies, movies starring Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix or James Gandolfini, or directed by Joel Schumacher (that are in my house).  This is actually a pretty good movie to start with.  The story is pretty decent, the acting is good and the score is pretty good.

The story in this movie is pretty decent.  It is also very straightforward, but even so, that doesn’t stop it from being good.  The thing about this straightforward story is even though it only has a minor twist, you actually don’t know what’s really going to happen next.  You know that he’s going to follow the trail but you don’t know what the trail actually is until the movie tells you which I really liked about the story.  However, it kind of felt like two movies as around an hour and 20 minutes in all the people responsible are found and then there is a different tone to the movie that was also good but just kind of felt weird when it switched.

I liked the acting in this movie.  Nic Cage as usual was his over-the-top self and it worked in this movie.  He wasn’t as over the top as he has gotten in movies such as The Bad Lieutenant but it also wasn’t as good as that performance.  Joaquin Phoenix was actually good in this movie as I didn’t see him playing a porn salesman but he did pretty decent at it.  Gandolfini was also good as the porn producer but it is basically what he had been playing for 20 years in film and television, a mobster.  The only difference was that he wasn’t in control (i.e. the character).  I was also surprised by a cameo from Chris Bauer (Andy Bellefleur in True Blood).  He showed the same range in one scene that the rest of the cast showed in the entire movie  which I really liked.

The music was also very good in this film.  The ominous score really set the tone of the dark underworld that Tom Welles ended up in after taking a job to prove whether a snuff film is real.  Those ominous tones also worked well in the “2nd movie” allowing a semi-easier transition between the two.

Overall, this is a fun film to watch but is only worth a rental.

IMDB says 6.3/10

RT says 22%

I say 7/10

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~ by sputnikreviews on April 12, 2011.

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