SNAKE EYES(director: Brian De Palma; screenwriters: David Koepp/ based on a story by De Palma/Koepp; cinematographer: Stephen H. Burum; editor: Bill Pankow; cast: Nicolas Cage (Rick Santoro), Gary Sinise (Kevin Dunne), John Heard (Gilbert Powell), Carla Gugino (Julia Costello), Stan Shaw (Lincoln Tyler), Kevin Dunn (Lou Logan), Michael Rispoli (Jimmy George), Joel Fabiani (Charles Kirkland); Runtime: 98; Paramount Pictures; 1998)
“The camera is the only star of this film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
After a brilliant, stylish opening sequence this film begins to unravel and by the time it ends, it is a misfire. Cage and Sinise play well off each other: Sinise is reserved (just right for the part), Cage is frenetic (over emoting but still very effective). Cage is the free-spirited, corrupt Atlantic City cop and childhood friend of Sinise, who is the naval officer in charge of security for the secretary of defense.
Sinise is in Atlantic City to protect the secretary while he attends the heavyweight bout, a fight that turns out to be fixed; Cage is Sinise’s guest, he is only there to watch the fight but in some ludicrous way becomes in charge of the investigation after the assassination. The assassination taking place in the crowded boxing venue is masterfully done and well worth the price of admission, as De Palma goes crazy with his cameras offering numerous shots from all different angles of the crowd and the casino.
We are witnesses to this assassination, so we soon learn who the villains are and thereby the story begins to go weakly off in another direction. This is after the picture so brilliantly set-up an interesting set of conflicts between the characters over their loyalty and sense of duty. It turns into a flat action movie, where things are easily predictable and we are cut off from any emotional involvement with the characters.
The camera is the only star of this film. After a fast start it disappoints in the closing rounds.
REVIEWED ON 9/18/98 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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