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.
In order to foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a ruthless terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same criminal impersonates the cop.
A small, seemingly innocuous plastic reel of film leads surveillance specialist Tom Welles down an increasingly dark and frightening path. With the help of the streetwise Max, 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. Written by
Wow, this is a tough subject but not as sordid a film as I figured it would be, although be warned the last 30 minutes are really rough in spots. Speaking of spots, this is a bloody movie in spots, too and very profane after the first 40 minutes. Yet, despite the unpleasant nature of the story (making a "snuff film" - filming the killing of people) it's a riveting one, well-acted and doesn't overdo the violence. The characters in here are some of the most despicable you could find - killer and porn kings.
Even our hero here, played by Nicholas Cage, starts off as a clean-cut fairly straight dude, and changes for the worst, too. Joaquin Phoenix has a good line in here, with the prophetic statement, "The devil doesn't change; he changes you."
James Gandolfini and Peter Stormare play characters about as bad you'll ever find in a movie. This film is not, as they say, for all tastes. It will turn off a lot of people but it is interesting and good revenge story, if you like that sort of thing and know what you're in for before watching this.
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