Nic Cage Appreciation Month: Snake Eyes (1998)

When Nic Cage plays sleazy, he really goes all out. In Snake Eyes, he's Rick Santoro, an Atlantic City police officer with a gambling habit, a wife and kids plus another woman on the side, and some rather, um, unusual methods. With a large amount of money riding on a big prize fight, he's angry when the champion appears to throw the match - but he soon has more important things to worry about, as the Secretary of Defence has been assassinated and there appears to be a conspiracy afoot...

Snake Eyes is kind of strange because Cage is definitely off the leash here - he orders martinis and makes an Elvis reference in the space of about 30 seconds, and I can't believe that outfit came from anywhere other than Cage's own wardrobe - yet because of the bizarre structure of the film and because there are so many other characters vying for attention, he doesn't completely steal the show. Which is really strange, because there are very few lines of dialogue he doesn't deliver by shouting them. It's a bit of a weird film, actually; it's really well put together technically and visually, with lots of long long long dynamic tracking shots and well-used musical score, and the structure of the narrative, which keeps revisiting the same events from different angles and from different subjective points of view, is really interesting, but it doesn't quite pay off properly. According to the IMDB, that's because originally the film was supposed to end with a tidal wave wiping out the casino, but for some reason this was cut in post-production. Thinking about it, that would really help tie up various loose ends - as it stands, the tropical storm raging outside doesn't really have anything to do with anything, so the subplot with the news reporter filming outside doesn't go anywhere, and Nic Cage's rambling final speech about dreaming about drowning is completely irrelevant. Which is a shame.

Snake Eyes isn't one of Nic Cage's really great films, and neither is it a really great or even particularly memorable Cage performance. Disappointing.

IMDB link

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