Snake Eyes

Review Date:
Director: Brian DePalma
Writer: David Koepp
Producers: Gale Anne Hurd
Nicolas Cage as Rick Santoro
Gary Sinise as Major Kevin Dunne
Carla Gugino as Julia Costello
Richie Santoro (Cage) is a crooked beat cop who works the dirty streets of Atlantic City. His childhood friend Major Kevin Dunne (Sinise) has moved on with his life, and now works as the right hand man of the US Secretary of Defense. The night is “fight night” in Atlantic City, with everyone in the crowd, and a raging hurricane gasping outside. During the boxing match, the Secretary of Defense gets shot in the neck by a sniper. Santoro becomes the investigating cop of the shooting, as evidence of a conspiracy to kill the man comes to light. The mystery behind the shooting is the focus of the rest of the film.
Highly stylized, extremely talkative, generally actionless, and lightly entertaining mystery from the man who has made pick-pocketing from one of the greatest directors of all time, Alfred Hitchcock, part of his own legend. This film does not maintain many moments of extreme thrills or surprises. It does put together a decent mystery plot by way of flashbacks (Written by David Koepp, the man who also penned MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, the two JURASSIC PARK’s and DePalma’s CARLITO’S WAY), with some typically slick styling from DePalma, all the while running in real time, but the overall framework of the film leaves little to get excited about. The montage used during the final credit crawl is also one of the worst and most boring of all time.

Nicolas Cage does a decent job of over-acting his over the top character here, and so does Sinise as the ambiguous friend from the day. Juliette Binoche look-alike Carla Gugina from TV’s “Spin City” also turns in a fitting performance as the girl in distress. I must admit that my recent viewing of THE NEGOTIATOR (7/10) might’ve set my standards for thrills a little higher for this one, but either way, this movie’s plot does little to innovate the genre, while continuing to homage the genre that made DePalma who he is today.

Admittedly, I was impressed with another one of DePalma’s classic one-shot-camera opening sequences, this one lasting at least 20 minutes, and many of his other camera tricks, but overall, the movie seemed flawed in its attempt to enrapture the audience’s imagination, and deliver on a solid ending. The parts after the official denouement were actually some of the funniest scenes in the movie, while the final scene just seemed like another Hollywood demand gone acknowledged. All in all, I guess you should go see this film, if you really like DePalma, his style and his mysteries (Or if you know somebody who may have played an extra in the audience.) If not, you could easily wait for the video version of this film, which will surely appetize your visually demanding gut and fill any 100-minute gap that’s needed in your life.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

Snake Eyes



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