1998; Rated R; 99 Minutes
Nicolas Cage: Detective Rick Santoro
Gary Sinise: Major Kevin Dunne
Joel Fabiani: S.O.D. Charles Kirkland
Carla Gugino: Julia Costello
John Heard: Gilbert Powell
David Higgins: Ned Campbell
Michael Rispoli: Jimmy George
Stan Shaw: Lincoln Tyler
Chip Zien: Mickey Alter
Produced by Brian
De Palma, Gale Anne Hurd, David Koepp, Jeff Levine and Chris
Soldo; Directed by Brian De Palma; Screenwritten
by Brian De Palma and David Koepp
by DAVID KEYES
DePalma's "Snake Eyes" opens with a spectacular swooping
camera shot of Nicholas Cage entering the boxing arena.
He is followed through the halls with his cell phone, followed
up the stairs, followed through a crowd, all culminating
in the arena where a huge gathering has formed to watch
a special boxing match. This is a camera shot that renews
our faith in DePalma's natural ability to photograph movies
in such beautiful ways, and therefore, places our faith
in him that he has once again crafted us a great movie.
this long, stunning shot, we as the audience begin to think
that "Snake Eyes" is going to be terrific. But it isn't:
the movie retreads the familiar (but still strong) conspiracy
formula with not-so-interesting characters and all this
extra hoopla to the point where we are no longer obliged
to believe DePalma has made another good movie. This time,
our faith fades in the shadows just shortly after the movie
movie is very difficult to keep up with. Cage plays Detective
Rick Santoro who, in the first shot, arrives at a boxing
arena to place a bet on the heavyweight champion. There,
he meets one of his longtime friends, Kevin Dunne, played
by Gary Sinise. After chatting to him, than to his wife
and kids on the phone, from which the swooping camera shot
continues, he sits next to a blonde attractive woman named
Julia Costello, played by Carla Gugino who, as we learn
later in the film, is there to share some interesting top
secret information with the Secretary of Defense. Played
by Joel Fabiani, the secretary sits in front of Santoro
and Costello, where, before the sold-out boxing match begins,
is assassinated by an unknown target. Santoro and Dunne
spend the movie trying to track down who is responsible
for the secretary's assassination, who they at first feel
is linked to the blonde woman who sat behind him.
movie controls its premise very well, following these two
uptown cops who realize after hours of searching and gathering
evidence that this assassination has to be a conspiracy.
not like I have anything against this familiar conspiracy
formula (which I enjoy often), but after the premise settles
in the dust just as it should, the movie crumbles into one
big mess where the characters spurt out some incredibly
dumb dialogue and act like they are in some sort of Spice
Girls music video.
even more frustrating is the conspiracy itself. When Santoro
feels he has gotten a new lead, he goes off in search for
it, only to end up finding out that it's false nearly every
time. It isn't until one unlikely lead at the end unfolds
the ultimate plot, which is so incredibly disappointing
that we are often confronted with the urge to 'boo' the
comes quite as a shock to me, considering that DePalma himself
has created some of the greatest films ever made. "Carrie"
and "Raising Cain" are two of them, and if you look at those,
you wonder how he could get something so screwed up like
"Snake Eyes." Perhaps Mr. DePalma is not the great director
we think he is.
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
Please e-mail the author here
if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.