|Star:||Nicholas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Christopher Bauer|
|Cert / Year:||18 R / 1998|
Tom Welles (Nicholas Cage) is a successful private detective, and a specialist in surveilance, who due to his impeccable reputation attracts high profile clients who require confidentiality and descretion. After Welles finishes a tricky assignment for a senator, he is at home relaxing with his family (whilst also trying to convince his wife that he doesn't smoke) when he receives a call for a new assignment. Welles' new client is the recently widowed wife of a prominent industrialist, of whom Welles is an apparent admirer. Whilst going through her husbands papers in his safe, she stumbled across an old 8mm cine film. The film which appears to be a "snuff" film, naturally disturbed the woman so she hires Welles to find out the identity of the girl in the film who appears to be so brutally slaughtered. In addition to also finding out who made the film and discover if the girl was really murdered and if so who by. Welles, obviously disturbed by the film is a little sceptical as to it's authenticity and agrees to take the case. The investigation takes a little longer than he expects and as Welles explores the lesser end of the hard core porn industry he gets drawn further into the sleazier and more extreme side. Welles eventually discovers the identity of the girl in the film, and enlists the help of Max California (Joaquin Phoenix) a local porn shop attendant, who identifies the masked "psycho porn beast" in the film as an actor known as "machine" (Christopher Bauer) a regular in the artistic representations of hardcore porn guru, Dino Velvet. Welles then sets a trap for the film makers which goes severely wrong and Welles soon learns some horrific truths.........
8MM is written by Andrew Kevin Walker who also wrote Se7en. To be honest, I did find 8MM very similar to Se7en in both the general mood and atmosphere of the film. Don't get me wrong, Se7en is a good film and this is a truly chilling story but I feel that it is the script that holds this film together rather than the direction, which is rather shabby overrall. Nicholas Cage is very good as Thomas Welles and manages to provide a good performance on the whole. Equally impressive is Joaquin Phoenix who also plays a good role. But in general whilst watching the film you just can't help but feel a bit dissappointed by the direction. A strong story like this, that I am sure some people who have seen a "snuff" film can associate with, deserved a lot better. There are a lot of directors who can direct this type of film how it should be done, as a real chiller. But I can't help feeling that it was Joel Schumacher's "Hollywood Status" that won him the appointment as director for this film, which is frankly a frightful error.
If you liked Se7en then you will like 8MM, but it is a pity that Nicholas Cage couldn't have got a certain member of his family to direct the film instead. (Francis Ford Coppola)
This rating is purely on the strength of the story and the performances by some of the actors!