An American diplomat and his fiancée venture into the sordid underworld of sex and pornography in Budapest, Hungary to find out who is blackmailing them with a porno video taken of them with a prostitute.
To foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity of a ruthless terrorist. But the plan backfires when the same criminal impersonates the cop with the same method.
Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
Private investigator Tom Welles is hired by the recently widowed Mrs. Christian who has found a startling pornographic film in her late husband's possessions. In the film a teenage girl is apparently killed and Welles is pretty sure it's a genuine snuff film. He takes the case, first going through records of runaways finally identifying the girl and learning that she may have run off to California. There he enters the seedy underworld of pornography with the help of Max California, a porn store clerk. His principal clue is the masked man who killed the girl as he has a unique tattoo on his hand. He soon finds the culprits but there is little satisfaction in resolving the mystery. Written by
The actress (Jenny Powell) playing the character of Mary Ann Mathews was originally a stripper hired in to act as a stand-in. Joel Schumacher gave her the part of the victim on the 8mm film as she had a suitably "haunted" look about her. See more »
When Tom Welles first meets Janet Mathews, he is looking at pictures of Mary Anne when he comes across a young picture of Janet. During the close up shots of the photographs, the picture behind the photo of Janet shows Mary Anne in a white shirt and green dress, while in the expanded shot of Janet and Tom, the photo shows Mary Anne in a blue shirt. See more »
Welcome to Miami. While in the airport, please observe Florida and local laws which prohibit any smoking in the terminal. Thank you for not smoking.
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Admittedly, I haven't seen a lot, if any, of the movies or read the books other people have said have covered this territory already, but I found myself caught up in the story and not bored or thinking, "Ho-hum." I haven't liked Joel Schumacher lately(his two BATMAN movies were a joke, and A TIME TO KILL was exploitation at its worst), but this one was pretty good. Admittedly, like in A TIME TO KILL, this sometimes comes close to an exploitation movie(particularly through the performances of James Gandolfini and Peter Stormare), but that's only part of the time. Most of the time you feel sadness and outrage, and like in Schumacher's very good FALLING DOWN, you aren't asked to condone Cage's actions near the end, you're just asked to understand them.
This might not be the type of part Cage is known for, but I found him compelling in the role(and if something upsets the man who ate a cockroach on film, you KNOW it's heavy-duty stuff). I do admit the film would have been a little unrelenting without the presence of Joaquin Phoenix, though; he was like a breath of fresh air, and I liked how matter-of-fact he was. I can't say I enjoyed this movie, but I'm not sorry I saw it.
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