2.5 stars. Snake Eyes is like Rashomon set in a casino or a straight-to-video Caché, in that it revisits a pivotal event from different perspectives in an attempt to reach a kind of truth. However, while those films suggest that truth is essentially illusive & unknowable, SE knows that if you watch an event enough times from enough CCTV monitors you’ll eventually work out what’s what. Repetitious but tightly plotted.
An interrogation of the politics behind surveillance follows a dishonest cop who becomes the only honest man after the assassination of a politician locks everyone inside of an boxing arena. All of the De Palma formal trademarks are present here, from split diopter shots to split-screen sequences. (cont.)
"Go to confession later, but don't burry yourself now." Motion, movement and blocking are all in peak form here, a masterful malaise of narrative kinetic frenzy. These characters are larger than life but comically grounded in archetypes and sincere want. Years later, Snake Eyes plays for what critics were too myopic to see upon release: a fun post-modern meta-imbued rebuke to the death of the thrill. Hitch be damned.
**1/2. A 10 minutes long sequence shot supposed to be THE objective point of view of the film. During the rest of the film, Brian De Palma will tear it apart by using all the resources of image processing he could think of. A movie zone De Palma aficionados or Film Studies' would-be scholar.
I may be in the minority but I like De Palma's less overtly "homage" films more than his other flicks. Nic Cage puts in a test run for a character that he takes over the edge in Herzog's Bad Lieutenant. The cinematagrophy/camerawork are applaudable, the atmosphereis oppressive, and Gary Sinise at his most bastardy. Thus, late nite cinema at it's finest!
De Palma? Never been a fan to be truthful. I think his reputation/ legacy as a filmmaker rests solely on a couple of slightly above average films and over the years his films have deteriorated in quality. He should never be mentioned in the same breath as Scorsese in my opinion!
De Palma's most underrated along with Raising Cain and Mission to Mars. The camera and it's wandering snake eyes are the main character; juxtaposing multiple perspectives, tricking others, and tricking the audience. At times its invasive and godlike, others limited and naive. De Palma takes his obsession with perception and the mechanics of the camera and makes them subject matter, to the extent that...
Finally, a late De Palma flop that really is as underrated as the Cahiers du Cinema says! The film's construction—Rashomon via tracking shots—is audacious and fluid, and the film plays so many games with the idea of "seeing" that it becomes a cockeyed self-reflection on the ties between eyeballs, cameras, and facts. Many people will be turned off by a campy Nic Cage performance. My advice: it's 1998, go with it.