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I walked into the movie theater last Friday not expecting at all what I was about to see. I'd heard about it, thought "Oh, another Seven". Same screenwriter, but I was way off track. I can stomach a lot, having no problem stuffing down popcorn during very graphic scenes. In 8MM, my coke had trouble going down. 8MM did not have consistent gory/violent scenes, but the way the movie was made made you fill in the blanks of what the makers of the movie could not screen. And if you pay attention and immerse yourself, you fill in more blanks than you really think you could, or want. As Max put it: "the devil changes you." The perversity and deep rottenness of the human minds displayed in 8MM is what disturbs you. Then you realize, that "snuff"-movies are real, that there are individuals twisted enough to endorse/enjoy/take part in it. And worst of all, that these individuals don't look like monsters, they're perhaps just overweight nearsighted men who look like your dad, your son, your brother, even yourself. And if you don't look out,(no matter how secluded you think you are in your suburban home, with a wife, a daughter, and a dog named Shep) you dive into the pit of perversion and rottenness as well, finding no way out. In conclusion: excellent music, acting very sufficient, the plot: a must see. Just don't bring popcorn, and prepare to walk out of the movie theatre disturbed, asking questions, and a little bit more suspicious of those walking around you, and yourself.
Firstly, this film is hugely under-rated. For those reviewers who call
this film a "waste of time" or place it in the "hall of shame", maybe
they should go back to watching more obvious and simple films.
8mm focuses on "snuff" movies and follows Nicholas Cage as he ventures into the dark underworld of the pornographic industry. I'm not a great fan of Nicholas Cage (I still wonder how he ever made it as a movie star), but in 8mm felt he redeemed himself from past performances. Other actors in the film put on great performances, notably Joaquin Pheonix, and James Gandolfini (of Sopranos).
What makes the film worth watching though is the emotion, dark imagery and tense moments throughout the film. The storyline too is very well thought out although does have a few holes and untouched areas that may have helped develop the film further. There is no Hollywood ending, forced propaganda, or marketing. What you do get is graphic scenes, moderate violence, and an insight into "snuff" movies (which really is quite disturbing).
Having said that this movie is not for the faint hearted, so if you're a "puppy-dogs and ice-cream" kind of person I'd suggest watching something else. If however, you feel you will be able to stomach such a film then prepare yourself for a moving film, which will leave you feeling that little bit darker at the end.
I highly recommend this film. 8/10
The intensely intriguing storyline of 8MM follows the haunting search by a private investigator (played superbly by Nicolas Cage) for the makers of a grotesque and disturbing snuff film in which a young woman is murdered. Starting by looking through endless missing persons files (in an attempt to identify the victim), Cage ultimately follows leads to the world of underground seaze films and the people who are involved in making them. Throughout his creepy investigation, Cage becomes more and more disturbed by the Snuff film and stops at nothing in an attempt to track down answers to what really happened. This film is So intriguing and suspenseful, there are scenes that will leave your heart pounding in anticipation of what's to come. I don't know if I have ever seen such an intriguing and suspenseful Drama/Thriller ever before! This film is so realistic, there are times when you feel as if what is going on is real, and you begin to feel more for the characters than you usually do in a film. The last 20 minutes of the film are heart pounding and breathtaking! Director Joel Schumacher delivers one of the most mind haunting dramas you will ever see and gives us a story that won't be easy to forget. It's dark, moody, creepy, brilliant, and disturbing! And when all the pieces finally come together, you'll be glad you went along for the ride. Wow, It's a sick world we live in!! I give this movie 4 out of 4 stars!
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.
8MM was a very dark and powerful film featuring the seedy underground world
of pornography and snuff movies. It was, to be frank, fantastic. Nic Cage,
rapidly becoming one of my favourite actors, walks through with a disgusted
air and even Joaquin Phoenix, who I've never been that impressed with, hit
the nail as a porn shop manager
Deeply disturbing, yes. Highly compelling, yes. A good buy... you bet!
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.
Some sensitive-minded people may surely be disturbed by the dark revenge and self-justice in this film, but "Se7en"-author Andrew Kevin Walker has done another fine work with his script! Although the storyline is obviously taken from Paul Schrader´s "Hardcore" (1974,?) the film is suspense-packed, violent and endowed with good performances of its actors, especially Peter Stormare did a brilliant job with playing the weird bondage-porn director Dino Velvet! I also was truly surprised how good director Joel Schumacher had created a morbid atmosphere, just in unhappy memory of his disastrous "Batman & Robin"-flick..! Another pleasant fact is, that "8MM" doesn´t deal with the Hollywood-typical stereotypes and clichés, so finally we´ve got something we could really call a dirty mainstream production - or at least a nice try of it!
8MM / (1999) ***
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare, Catherine Keener, and Amy Morton Directed by Joel Schumacher. Written by Andrew Kevin Walker. Running time: 123 minutes. Rated R (for strong sexual content, nudity, violence, and for strong language).
By Blake French:
Joel Schumacher's new disquieting thriller, "8MM," is the kind of movie that starts out hesitantly calm, but contains an atmosphere where potentially detestable material may become apparent, as if the film is preparing us for something much more bellicose. Sure enough, a half hour into the picture, we take possession of plot points regarding subjects beyond human imagination. Our very effective condition propels us into a sleazy world of hard core adult contents. "8MM" is a tense, dramatic production with tantalizing dialogue and a driving theme of action. There is a scene in the film in which a character explains a relative, although somewhat overlooked, concept. "When you dance with the devil, you don't change the devil--the devil changes you," he declares as he walks down a long, dark ally with another character.
Nicolas Cage stars as Tom Welles, a highly acclaimed private detective living with his wife Amy (Catherine Keener), and their newborn son in a homey, relaxed country house. As the film opens, he is called upon by the widow of an important political man, Mrs. Mathews (Amy Morton). This elderly woman has discovered the contents of her late husband's secret safe and his extremely concerned about some of them. Most of the objects found in the safe are normal. One in particular, however, a film strip, is not what you would call ordinary, but suspicious and concealed. Mrs. Mathews explains to Tom what he will see on this tape is something of unimaginable terror. Tom views the 8mm tape, watching in horror as a young girl is raped and brutally beaten to death in front of a camera operator, a silent viewer, and a muscular man wearing all sorts of S&M clothing. The well-developed conflict brought to our attention at this point: Mrs. Matthews is requiring Tom to find out if the tragic events that occur on tape are real or not, and if her husband had anything to do with this atrocity.
Welles opens a missing person's case and reports to his wife that he will be away for a few weeks on duty. He first searches through countless files containing young kidnapping victims. The results: a fifteen year old girl named Marianne who ran away from home six years ago with the company of her boyfriend as they were heading towards Hollywood, California. Next, he converses with several key characters including her depressed mother, a scruffy acquaintance, and her so called boyfriend who is now serving time in prison. He claims Marianne ran off to work at a strip club. These characters point Tom in the direction of an underworld of "snuff" movies, where he meets an adult book store clerk named Max California (Joaquin Phoenix). He and Max become friends. After some negotiating, our fellow porn genius agrees to share his knowledge with Tom and lead him to the makers of the 8mm snuff film. There we meet Eddie Poole, a perverted photographer, (James Gandolfini), Dino Velvet (Peter Stormare), a disquieted man who believes smut to be a form of art, and The Machine, the man in the S&M mask who murdered Marianne in the video Mrs. Mathews found.
"8MM" has an excellently developed setup. A setup that indicates us on the snuff film, as well as the setting, character motives, personalities, dramatic premise, and plot points. The only component that is missing is the history and or in depth elaboration on Tom Welles. With such an important character, one who drives the entire narrative through line, we need to feel a lot of empathy so that we may root for him. Unfortunately, the filmmakers present the audience with only the minimum introduction. The side characters are also descriptive. In their own presence, contribute to both the story and atmosphere.
Director Joel Schumacher's work has always been some of my favorite. With movies like "Falling Down," "Flawless," and "Batman & Robin," I was never expecting him to construct a dark, grim, film such as "8MM." This feature is tasteless and nasty, repulsive and unsettling--while all these bases are relentless within the context of the plot. No doubt many audiences will be offended throughout, perhaps even to the point of where they walk out of the theater. This is a production on the verge of an NC-17 rating and is adult in every atom of its being. The perverse and gritty character motives and mature subject matters all fitted appropriately here, but the film still goes over the top in many areas.
Some of the movie's characters are a bit too obvious. The villain, for instance, I could predict from the first five minutes he is on screen. Whenever there is a character who seems to have no cause or purpose in the plot, he is normally the bad guy. Here, although the character twists are effective and the casting is brilliant, we receive several clinches that many views will be able to detect immediately.
Nicolas Cage is obviously the right choice for Tom Welles, a man who is more submissive than brutal, but is placed in a situation where deep down he desires bloodshed, but knows his morals challenge him otherwise. "8MM" is a movie that frolics with this character's emotions and values, and at the same time lives up to a premise that is way out of his league.
Brought to you by Columbia Pictures.
When I watched 8 MM, I didn't know what to expect, but I noticed that
Joel Schumacher directed it and I am a fan of his. Also it stars two
other terrific actors like Nicholas Cage and Joaquin Phoenix, so
usually that equals a great film. 8 MM turned out to be a terrific dark
drama that I'm not so sure that I understand it's low rating. I was
actually expecting it to be in the 7.0 range when I went to check it
out on IMDb, but it's in the low 6.0's. I understand that it's an
extremely dark movie that not too many people would wanna take a look
at, but for what it was, I thought it was great. It took us into the
deep dark world of porn and what some sick people get off on. It's not
just about that, but also it takes us into a detective type of drama
that makes it into a scary type of thriller.
Tom Welles is a detective that is given a strange short movie called a "snuff film", where a beautiful young girl is being brutally raped and then murdered on film. While it's supposed to be fake, it looks incredibly real and terrifying. Her relative asks him to find out wither it is fake or real and if she's still alive. This means he has to go deep into a world of brutal porn that is out of his league. With the help of a porn salesman, Max, they go to find out if this girl is really alive or not, but end up getting into some serious trouble when the directors and "actors" find out about them.
8 MM is in no way for the faint of heart, there are some extremely disturbing images that I really wouldn't like to see again, I'm sure most wouldn't either, but this is a great dark drama that I would recommend for a watch. Nicholas did a great job, but Joaquin really takes the show here. He made his character incredibly believable and almost sympathetic. Joel really made me believe the story, he shot it wonderfully and didn't over do anything. I would recommend this film for a watch, it's a great thriller that is impressive as well as scary.
"8mm" sucks you in from the moment you watch the snuff film with Nicholas
Cage, not letting you go until the very end, where it spits you out
in a cocoon of bloody phlegm.
The director successfully creates a gritty atmosphere that remains constant right up until the end, but the plot isn't so lucky. As others have pointed out, things get ridiculous towards the films finale, which if crafted with more tact could have made "8mm" a great film rather than simply an entertaining one.
Cage gives a good, rather sombre performance as the private investigator hired to determine the authenticity of a snuff film found in the late husband of a senator's safe. From there on he's plopped into the festering world of deviant pornography, forced to explore the seedy bowels of stomach-churningly filthy underground sexual practices. Amy Morton's performance as Mary Ann's mother is perfect, conveying the emotions of a distraught, depressed mother beautifully. Joaquin Pheonix steals the show as the charismatic owner of a sex-shop.
Full of suspense, this film should at least entertain you as you watch with disgust and repulsion some of the dirtiest human habits imaginable.
7 out of 10.
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