R 123min 1999
“8mm” is about a private investigator (Cage), known for his discretion, is hired by a recent widower to find out if a SNUFF film is real or not.
I could see where this film tried to do, but actually failed to do. It was trying to be edgy, take you on a journey of a taboo subject without giving the user a truly disturbing image. As a viewer you’re asked to imagine that the world of underground fetishes is sold in seedy neighborhoods and other questionable neighborhoods but the real monster are your next-door neighbor.
Joel Schumacher tries to hard to make this world of fetishes seem so “dirty” that “respectable” people would never be caught in this world. This is exactly where this film fails. “Eight Millimeter” tried to stay too mainstream, the visuals come off more like psychological torture film than fetish sex tapes, they are laughable at best, bizarre not taboo. He stylizes this world as being seedy as the drug world.
As a viewer, “8mm” ask you to believe that the journey to film this SNUFF film is skating the dark seedy corner of a hell on earth, a place so seedy that you need a guide into the world. That this journey changes you fundamentally but you never the film never truly accomplish this or it could just have been Nicholas Cage’s acting.
You never really care about the characters and the situation that befall them. Joaquin Phoenix’s character has a line to Cage’s: “When you dance with the devil, the devil don’t change you do.” I never saw the change. Cage’s character has the same deadpan delivery and Catherine Keener seems absurdly irate for no reason. I never believed that this family was a couple and that they had problems seething underneath the surface.
Overall it’s a film that is complete but never full develops. The scope of the film hiders the viewers to the complete depravity of the world that “Eight Millimeter” tried to portray. I film that tried to be shocking and edgy came of as neither and more as a morality tale that miss fired. It came off more as a revenge tale than a tale about justice. For what it tried to do its still an ok film but could have been better.
I give it 3/5 Gs.