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
Nicolas Cage's Oscar award (for Leaving Las Vegas (1995)) makes a cameo in the film. Look for it, wrapped up in black string/laces on Eddie Poole's desk when Cage breaks in to tap Poole's phone. See more »
When Max California is explaining that the music industry is not exactly beating down his door. His is actually saying something else. 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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