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Overall Rating
2.77

Awesome: 7.45%
Worth A Look27.95%
Average: 22.36%
Pretty Bad: 18.63%
Total Crap: 23.6%

12 reviews, 89 user ratings


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8MM
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by Eugene Novikov

"A complex achievement."
4 stars

Director Joel Schumacher must be a very hated man. He is, after all, responsible for single-handedly destroying the whole "Batman" franchise with the embarrassing "Batman & Robin." Is it fair, for Batman fans everywhere, to say that Schumacher redeems himself with "8MM"? Well, perhaps not. And I suppose there is no form of redemption for making an awful movie; that'll stay with you forever. But in its own right, the new Nicolas Cage thriller "8MM" is an excellent film.

The ordinary-man-suddenly-thrown-into-oblivion story has been told over and over, both by excellent films (Enemy of the State, A Simple Plan, The Man Who Knew Too Much) and not-so-excellent ones (In Dreams, etc.). And, I suppose, 8MM is another of these films, but instead of it being the whole movie, it uses that general storyline framework as a set-up for bigger and better things. Cage plays Private Detective Tom Welles, a loving husband dedicated to his profession, who spends most of his time following around various adulterers and other such scum. So, it is rather surprising to him when he is called in by the wife of a recently deceased millionare. It seems that she has found a film in her husband's safe that seems to depict a girl being brutally raped and murdered. Welles' mission, which he chooses to accept, is to find out whether that girl was really killed in that film.

He tackles the problem head-on by going to Cleveland and by visiting a part of that city known as an adult entertainment heaven. He enlists the help of an intelligent but destitute porn store clerk, Max, to acquaint him with the dark world of hard-core pornography. He begins to dig deep, and finds out that "snuff" films, a sort of "urban legend" in the porn world really do exist. For the uninitiated (God, I hope there are many of you out there), a "snuff" film is an unproffesionally made porno where one of the stars is beaten and killed.

From a technical perspective, this is a fine achievement. Filmed in bleak, dark tones, 8MM is a beautifully moody picture, even if it doesn't present any original concept in cinematography (and it didn't have to, either). The movie's general style resembles that of last year's A Perfect Murder in camerawork, lighting and tone.

As Welles submerges himself in this insane world, he begins to wrestle with murderous instincts. But he is not a killer. At one point, in a very powerful scene, he has to call a family member of one of the victims to literally talk him into killing one of the villains.

Schumacher tries to touch on many philosophical concepts in 8MM. Some work, some don't, but his movie is really notable for many very suspenseful scenes, compelling action, and for building up a steady rhythm that really draws the audience in. Cage gives a none-too-subtle but still riveting performance as Welles, but his performance gets is quite overstated if you watch closely.

8MM is quite graphic in terms of depiction of these "snuff" films, but it manages not to stray into NC-17 category. Still, I would guess that many people would find much of this film disturbing, and some might even think of it as repulsive. But try and look beyond the violence. Welles' reaction to everything he sees is quite real. The villains' motives as depicted here are rather thought-provoking. When you really look, 8MM is quite a restrained, even timid picture when you think about what it could have been. Had it been an "exploitation" movie, much like the porn that it's about, my reaction would have certainly been different.

Nor is this a preachy "porn is bad" movie, as a matter of fact 8MM does not seem to be too concerned with porn. It seems to be trying to get a message through our heads that has to do with criminality in general. The notion that all criminals have a troubled past is what Schumacher seems to be trying to disprove ("I do these things because I want to. Because I like them"). Like last year's Enemy of the State, 8MM uses action and violence for something other than simply displaying action and violence.

This is Schumacher's breakthrough film, his first good one since Falling Down. It's a comlpex achievement; exciting, sad and profound at the same time. It's also one of the year's first pleasant surprises.

(Review reprinted from FilmBlather.com)

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=731&reviewer=419
originally posted: 03/04/07 23:01:44
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User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell realistic but unpleasant 2 stars
5/18/13 Tim Sometimes silly, but appropriately dark and has some real tension. Cage is quite good, too 4 stars
9/16/12 cindy madson great 5 stars
1/27/10 David A. A well-done detective story that's intense enough to satisfy horror fans as well. 4 stars
7/30/09 Helgen This is the type of shit that happens every day in this world, fool reviewer. 4 stars
7/20/08 Shaun Wallner Nicholas Cage is great in all his films. 5 stars
3/03/08 ladavies I normally don't like N Cage, but I was rooting for him in this film. 4 stars
10/22/07 ben dover criminally underated whoever says this is trash is missing the point 5 stars
8/02/06 Indrid Cold A solid, intriguing mystery, but the story is frequently silly. 3 stars
3/11/06 Dillon Hard-edged and morally conscious 5 stars
10/25/05 R.W.Welch Bleak Private Investigator tale gets by but is slack in spots. 3 stars
10/14/05 Mark Louis Baumgart "They do evil because they can" speaks volumes. Gets better every time I watch it. 5 stars
9/13/05 Fenix Not so much in the plot as it is the reality of it. Good Moive 4 stars
8/16/05 ES i didn't find it scary or alarming, pretty fake actually= save your money 2 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma An enjoyable flick 4 stars
11/22/04 Archanist_101 Mr. Cage's performance was atonoushing...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
7/27/04 Jake harrison Could have been good, cage as usual overacts, I wish his wife would have stayed out 3 stars
2/07/04 LIAM JACKSON a bizarre underworld of vicious, demented sexual perverts and their horrid hobbies. 5 stars
1/27/04 p3online A PRICELESS PIECE tracks Monster minds & absolute sickness. NICs performance riddles brain! 4 stars
9/07/03 Mr. Hat Pope's really full of shit. Anyway,it's really dark but well-made.FROM THE WRITER OF SE7EN! 4 stars
6/18/03 Jack Bourbon Smut. And I ain't talking about the subject of the film. 2 stars
3/24/03 Jack Sommersby Studio-interfered-with film has only glimpses of its innate potential. 1 stars
3/19/03 Monster W. Kung Exploitative garbage. Fact: Nicholas Cage is one of the worst actors ever. 2 stars
1/29/03 Jimmy Jamez it wasnt THAT bad =\ 4 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 Probably one of Nic Cage's worst action movies ever, it was a bit sick. 2 stars
8/08/02 JesseL This is a movie for adult minds. Joaquin Phoenix stands out. 4 stars
5/10/02 ihe8cage Cage is the worst actor ever. Some how he manages to get all the good parts in good movies 1 stars
4/06/02 Veronica Tatterworth Whether you love or hate skinflicks, this'll do nothing for you. 1 stars
2/13/02 Eduardo Del Valle It's not that bad. Just heavy, a little bit worse than seven... Don't wait for sun, joy etc 4 stars
1/12/02 Joe Wooden acting, terrible dialogue, insipid plot. 1 stars
12/31/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) D*E*P*R*E*S*S*I*N*G: No comedy, always dark, low-key, sick. 2 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk Pointless and uninspired. Joel Schumacher hasn't made a really good film since Lost Boys. 2 stars
8/01/01 Crisis Management Phony and predictable, and the wanna-be message is completely lost in mindless tripe. 2 stars
7/01/01 J Personally I think this is much worse that Batman & Robin. It may be just me. 1 stars
6/12/01 cinkcool I dont know what ididnt like about. Just didnt. Maybe cause its about child porn? 2 stars
6/09/01 Serial_Monk_the_Jawbreaker Poorly written and predictable. Also wicked sappy. This is no LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT 2 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Joel Schummacher, Nicolas Cage. One talentless; One's time is up. Awful movie. 1 stars
11/21/00 Baumgart A truly disturbing one. Anyone who has ever had any experience with the seamy world of por 4 stars
10/25/00 Terrie Smith Disturbing film; definitely not for everyone. Rather subdued acting performance from Cage. 4 stars
9/14/00 Jed Batman & Robin is not he worst J.S film this proves it. 1 stars
7/18/00 kittykat it was ok 3 stars
3/26/00 Jed And you people thought "Batman & robin" was bad. 1 stars
2/21/00 arnold really fucking weird,extremely sick 1 stars
1/06/00 perverted pixie A slow starter, but once it kicks in- it kicks ARSE! 4 stars
10/25/99 Marshy It's the equivant of Cruising for the 90's- misses the point in many places, but it's good. 4 stars
10/16/99 The Bomb 69 standard stuff except for the snuff 3 stars
10/15/99 Jeffnerd Nasty (sick) movie with a rotten plot 1 stars
10/11/99 Weird Andy Cage's annoying wife nearly wrecks this film ala "Jar-Jar Binks." 3 stars
9/04/99 godsdog Has it's flaws, but strays from typical "insert climax here" formula. J. Phoenix was great 4 stars
8/20/99 J-Dogg Underrated, but not perfect: Cage brings a stone, robot-like performance. Still, great film 4 stars
7/29/99 howard hawks woh baby!! 4 stars
7/27/99 emperor Cage was horrible. 2 stars
7/24/99 Hagbard Celine Cage is a talentless schmuck. Adam Sandler could've carried it off better. 2 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Why does everyone hate this? I thought it was a great, dark subject for a picture. 4 stars
6/28/99 Ricardo How could Cage be so stupid to take this job 1 stars
6/09/99 Lucas jackson I should have known Joel Schumacher directed this piece of shit 1 stars
4/25/99 XenoWolf this sucked pretty hard cock 2 stars
4/16/99 lucas jackson it's one fucking bad movie 2 stars
4/16/99 Kevin Mcsam It was the best!!!!!!!!! Bitch slapped 5 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson What a piece of trash, I like porn as much as the next perv, but this movie sucks 1 stars
4/14/99 rat i fell asleep 1 stars
4/11/99 Tristynn Make sure your not feeling queasy when you see this one.its a killer.(no pun intended*lol* 5 stars
4/10/99 Keith Calder What really makes this movie worth watching is Joaquin Phoenix. He was incredible. 4 stars
4/01/99 Samantha Gara I love Nick, and I thaught this was a kick-ass movie. I will see it again. 5 stars
4/01/99 Thanatos The scene with the guy licking the barrel of the gun was completely fucking hilarious!! 5 stars
3/25/99 Powrhug you gotta be up for it, but this was an intersting study-better start than finish though 4 stars
3/21/99 Daddy Rich Good movie, but disturbing at times. Phoenix did a great job along with Cage. 4 stars
3/18/99 Joel Prescott I was hood but it could have been better. Nothing was surprizing it was really pridictable. 4 stars
3/17/99 Mr Showbiz Schumacher doesn't have the slightest idea how to justify making a movie about snuff films 1 stars
3/16/99 Angela Nicolas Cage is awesome in anything!!! 5 stars
3/14/99 Ah Dooey Not that bad, not that good either. 3 stars
3/14/99 Kevin Knapp This movie was the worst movie I have EVER seen. I liked Spice World better! 1 stars
3/13/99 Liz W Nicholas and Joquin were good but the story was too disturbing and drug on. 3 stars
3/10/99 Lori Tisberger I hated that movie!! I was so disappointed 1 stars
3/10/99 jvt Not very good at all 2 stars
3/10/99 Oggy Se7en was better. 3 stars
3/05/99 Beth Nic Cage SUCKS ALL ASS all by himself. 1 stars
3/04/99 Bobby Luv Not a family film, it gets a bad rap for exploring a controversial topic 4 stars
3/04/99 Bill Hartman Could have seen more action at a bingo hall.... 2 stars
3/04/99 The Graduate Predictable and poorly paced. "The film" isn't even that graphic, not for an R flick. 3 stars
3/04/99 Mr Showbiz A muddled, uninvolving thriller. If you're expecting Se7en you'll be bitterly disappointed. 1 stars
3/01/99 jen joaquin's the only reason this isn't on my SAA list... 2 stars
3/01/99 frank 'i need your permission to punish them. just say yes.' 1 stars
2/22/99 Mr Film Cage is still 'The Man'.. 8MM is very, very cool. 4 stars
1/06/99 The Dude SORRY GUYS I THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY COOL 5 stars
11/25/98 Bad Kosh Somewhat sappy, not really great, those sucks have a lot to learn. 3 stars
11/18/98 K-Dog Mmm you're a funny fuck.. is your favourite film 'armageddon' real film critic? 3 stars
11/17/98 The REAL Film Critics Don't listen to K-Dog..If you're not a tight ass,you'll like it.. 4 stars
10/19/98 Dark Horizons All the dramatic points or lines where almost completely lost on the audience. Painful. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  26-Feb-1999 (R)

UK
  23-Apr-1999

Australia
  15-Apr-1999 (R)




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