8MM

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare, Anthony Heald, Christopher Bauer, Catherine Keener. Written by Andrew Kevin Walker. Directed by Joel Schumacher. Rated R for strong perverse sexuality and violence, and for strong language.

Soon after the death of a noted multi-millionaire, his widow discovers an 8-millimeter film in his private safe. The film appears to be a bit of raw pornography with a murder for its climax. Even understanding that so-called "snuff films" are purely the stuff of urban legends, she wants private investigator Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) to track down the girl in the video to establish for sure that this very real looking film does not, in fact, depict an actual death. The trail that Tom follows starts out very weak but eventually leads to the dark, dangerous underground of pornography too raw for the average pervert. In the end the truth is revealed, but not before Tom, himself, is caught in the middle of a deadly situation.

"8MM" is a very intriguing film with an original premise. It does not shrink away from depicting the ugliness of its subject matter, and shows the evolution of its protagonistís viewpoint quite convincingly. That being said, I canít think of one single person in my acquaintance to whom I could recommend this film. It represents a loss of innocence that would forever discolor someoneís view of society, no matter how easily they would write it off as a work of fiction. "8MM" may not be a bad film, but I canít in good conscience encourage anyone to see it.


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