Tuesday, August 6, 2013

8MM (1999) Review:

Besides Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997), director Joel Schumacher has made some unique films. Adding to that is his distinct taste for also picking topics to cover that really have no need to brought up. Mainly because it's something not many people would have an interest in. This is exactly where Schumacher goes with this particular subject about an 8mm sex film containing a recorded murder. Great....

The stressed Nicolas Cage
The man for the job who decides to find out who's behind it is Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage), a family man and devoted worker. And as for the whole film, Cage played his character efficiently through each frame. I also enjoyed how he was able to deduct various clues in the case that he was trying to solve. Even a young Joaquin Phoenix playing a character called Max California puts in a unique performance as well. In fact, Phoenix spews out a few lines that practically sum up the entire film - "You dance with the devil, the devil don't change; the devil changes you". Yikes, that's heavy and deep.

Joaquin Phoenix as Max
But here's what makes this film difficult to enjoy. First, Schumacher dives into the darker world of the sex industry where things begin to get strange and unnerving. That whole aspect can make viewers extremely uncomfortable because it's not just sex anymore where it's all pleasure. Schumacher is good at pushing limits, but that doesn't mean pushing limits makes things enjoyable. Also even though, we (as the audience) are supposed to despise the antagonists, I absolutely loathed them. I hated them enough that I wished they weren't written into the script; it was so sickening.

Making the experience worse while watching these criminals on screen was the everlasting story that seemed to drag on and on. The music didn't work either. Composer Mychael Danna's soundtrack is minorly effective in some places but majorly ineffective in the rest. Especially the transition or montage scenes - just plain annoying. Surprisingly, I did enjoy the conclusion to the film but it took an awfully long time to get there. And if it hadn't ended the way it did, my score definitely would have been lower.

This detective story may have leads who can act well and have excessive tension, but the story is repulsive by nature, which can make the viewing experience quite uncomfortable. It's definitely a dark thriller, perhaps too dark.

Points Earned --> 6:10

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed this movie a lot. Nic Cage was very intense and he's the only actor who could've pulled this off.