February 12, 2011

Reviews in Retrograde: 8MM

Critical Outcast isn't my first attempt at a website, I had a few stutter steps in the late 1990's and early 2000's. These attempts generated a whole bunch of poorly written, often very short and spoilerific reviews. I recently stumbled upon them in my archives and thought you may be interested in seeing some of these early attempts at writing. They are as they were then, I make no apologies for how bad or how short they are. Feel free to have at them with reckless abandon! I present to you: Reviews in Retrograde.


Absolutely brutal film. Not many films make me feel uneasy, and this one was very disturbing. From the same writer as Seven, we are dealing with some similar subject matter. Schumacher has crafted a fine thriller which disturbs and entertains at the same time.

Nicolas Cage is Tom Wells, a private investigator who is hired by a wealthy older woman whose husband just died. You see, he had what appears to be a 'snuff' film. She hires Tom to ascertain the authenticity of the images. Tom accepts the case and what follows is a descent of a family man into the seedy underworld of pornagraphy.

Tom soon encounters a young musician named Max working at one of the many porn shops. Tom enlists his aid in tracking down whoever may be behind making a snuff film. When they find them it doesn't take long to discover that these guys are not exactly friendly. We watch as Tom spirals out of control, trying to remain himself, yet being changed into something more as he is exposed to more of the madness. As Max says at one point "When you dance with the devil, the devil changes you." A very pertinent statement as Tom immerses himself in the underworld. Only he can save himself.

This movie was very disturbing, Nic Cage gives a fine performance as a family man who is irreversibly changed by his experience, yet is able to cling to his sanity, his family being his anchor to his sanity. Joel Schumacher crafts a fine thriller, and an excellent followup to the dismal Batman and Robin. Andrew Kevin Walker continues to mine the depths of our fears, a recurring theme of taking a normal man and driving him to the edges of sanity. Showing that even the most stable of men can be changed into something else, it just matters how extreme the happening is.

If you can handle the subject of this film, enter at your own risk. Recommendation to see.

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