Police detective Rick Santoro Nick Cage attends a championship boxing match. Also attending is Navy Commander Kevin Dunne Gary Sinise , Rick's best friend. During the boxing match a bullet hits and kills US Secretary of Defense Charles Kirkland. What follows is a real-time mystery in which Santoro and Dunne seal off the boxing arena and work together to find the assassins. As the film progresses, Santoro gradually comes to realise that there's a conspiracy behind the assassination and that Dunne is involved. Santoro, an unscrupulous cop with a history of taking bribes, is thus <more>
faced with a choice: accept a million dollar payoff to keep his mouth shut, or arrest his buddy.Stanley Kubrick once observed that "most films don't have any purpose other than to mechanically figure out what people want and to construct some artificial form of entertainment for them." People seek the familiar. Whether it be a familiar genre, actors, or a specific kind of emotional gratification, films have become delivery systems for the feelings that we crave. But director Brian De Palma is a bit of an anomaly. Like most of his thrillers, "Snake Eyes" has its fangs firmly in the past - in this case the conspiracy thrillers of Hitchcock, and Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" - and yet annoys those looking for familiarity precisely because De Palma is relentless in bending the film toward his own private concerns. And so, typical of De Palma, this is a film in love with penetrating space, with shifting points of view, with explorations of memory, vision and the corruption match fixing, blackmail, assassination, political spin festering beneath all glitz. The script, written by David Koepp, itself serves only as a framework for De Palma to indulge in his fetish-like obsession with seeing, subjectivity and the fallibility of images.Unsurprisingly, "Eyes" begins with a shot of a globe shaped statue. It's a nod to "Touch of Evil's" introductory Universal International logo, another trashy B movie in which a seedy tale of moral responsibility intersects with much camera wizardry. De Palma's camera then picks up a fumbling news reporter, her off screen director and a bank of television monitors, one of which shows Santoro jokingly addressing a camera. What then follows is a 13 minute single take in which De Palma gives us a tour of a boxing arena, familiarises us with its layout, and introduces us to the film's key players.The film spells out its concerns with this very first shot. The reporter's monologue serves as a precursor to the elaborate long-take that follows. One slip and everything must be restarted/re-staged for the eye. The film is a technical exercise, a juggling match, framed begining and end by the TV image. The globe and the thunder storm will themselves appear later during the film's finale and Cage himself is introduced as a vessel designed to command the lens. He's a loudmouth centre of attention who, quite literally, learns to pay attention to things outside himself.Much of the rest of the movie revisits this 13 minutes single-take from the perspective of different characters and cameras, none of whose optics can be trusted. Like most De Palma films, "Eyes" is thus primarily concerned with the dishonesty of the image. His camera is a snake, constantly prowling, searching, scheming and lying. One sequence, which recalls Jack Terry's patient rewind-and-play in "Blow Out", has Santoro watching a boxing KO from varying angles, as he tries to come to some measure of truth. Like Antonioni's "Blow Up", the film overwhelms us with its sheer number of lenses, points of views and visual trickery. A person can lie. A camera can lie. But a hundred cameras will add up to the truth more surely than a hundred fallible eyewitness accounts.The first 70 minutes of "Snake Eyes" are crammed with bravura set pieces and exhilarating camera work. The real star here is De Palma, whose camera prowls the arena with relish, dipping, ducking and whizzing back and forth. Cage, his character torn from the pages of pulp magazines, does his best to match De Palma's bravado. His performance is hilarious; seedy but with heart.During the film's final ten minutes, however, the film loses steam. There's no climax. But this ending was never intended. Like Orson Welles, much of De Palma's filmography has been tampered. "Obsession" had it's paedophillic sub-story removed by composer Bernard Herrmann, a prudish Tom Cruise had all the romance and sex scenes cut out of "Mission Impossible", "Black Dahlia" lost over 50 minutes of footage, "Mission to Mars" was subject to budget cuts which resulted in an abrupt last act and "Bonfire" was so rife with confusion that a book was written The Devil's Candy detailing De Palma's troubles with studios. "Get To Know Your Rabbit" and "Redacted" would face similar problems.The original ending of "Eyes" tied into the first shot, and included a massive action/CGI sequence involving the previously seen globe and a hurricane. This sequence was similar in tone to the end of "Femme Fatale", in which noir fate comes crashing down. But the studio's balked at the numbers and a cheaper ending was quickly tacked on. Still, the current ending is interesting in the way it pushes hard and fast past a typical happy ending. Rather than being redeemed, Santoro becomes a hero, only to be promptly brought up on corruption charges. In De Palma's world, past sins are never forgotten.8.9/10 - Spielberg and Fincher would later hire screenwriter David Koepp for "War of the Worlds" and "Panic Room", two films likewise preoccupied with cameras and space. Alfonso Cuaron would cite "Eyes" as an influence on "Children of Men" and De Palma's overhead "God's eye" tracking shot would be borrowed by Spielberg in "Minority Report". "Eyes" made the top of many lists in France, but is treated with scorn every where else. Worth multiple viewings.
One of the best movies of De Palma, a formal masterpiece. (by gpu)
A completely new movie, where form and vision become the substance of a story of dissolution of a consciousness and of a world. Double characters and multiple points of perception, an opening scene technically stunning and artistically perfect, centered on an indirect perceiver Cage while everything happens on the background. Multiple endings in every sense and an extremely rigorous style up to the last image. Split screen sequences as a poetic synthesis of truth, and a completely new relationship between subjective and objective reality. Abstract cinema at its best, and a real <more>
A very good film! It deserves alot! (by Movie Nuttball)
What a great movie! Excellent acting by Cage and Sinise!Great color,great and yet usual camra work,great suspence,and awesome music! I just love those following scenes with Cage and Sinise! As a big Boxing fan I was pleased how the fight in the ring was performed. Snake Eyes is a terrific film that delivers it it all!
Should Have Gotten More Props... (by domino1003)
*****SPOILER ALERT!!! IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT, DON'T LOOK!!!***** YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!!This is a perfect example of a very underrated film. Jimmy Santoro Cage is a crooked cop, a sorry excuse of a husband He has a mistress , and is a complete sleaze. On the night of a big boxing match in Atlantic City, he changes into a human being, courtesy of a murder of a politician. There are a lot of twists and turns in this film and Gary Sinse Wonderful as always plays his buddy Kevin Dunne. Carla Gugino makes for excellent eye candy as Julia, who knows a lot of secrets that may make her <more>
dead.The saddest part? When everything that Dunne says to Santoro, that guys like him will crash and burn when exposed to the media. You cannot help but feel a little sorry for Santoro when what Dunne said comes true And they show it very quickly how he turns from hero to villain in just a few seconds .I also feel sorry that the film wasn't a box office hit that it deserved to be. I thought it was an excellent film and a lesson on doing the right thing: would you let things go the way it is or would you do everything in your power to change it, even though you may be dragged in the mud in the process? An interesting moral question and an interesting film.
I can just say that it's one of the greatest films I ever seen.From phantom of the paradise to Snake eyes without impossible mission perhaps! i think that Brian De Palma is one of the best directors of the Century.
Beautifully structured (by R_O_U_S)
If you're one of those people who doesn't like Nicolas Cage, then this is the movie to avoid. If you ever have enjoyed his work, see this. It's his apotheosis. And in a good jacket too. But on to more important things - I love the structure of this film. The first fifteen minutes give us an extended tracking shot around a wrestling arena which ends with a gunshot. The rest of the movie is given over to re-examining the period of time covered in the tracking shot to find out who fired the bullet. And it's all covered in De Palma's superb direction.
The Eye That Lies (by tedg)
This is a wonderful experience. Never mind that the acting is poor and the story weak --that was never the point. This film was made because DePalma knows how to make his camera dance and wanted to make a film based on that notion.A central question in most art concerns the role of the viewer. This dominated easel painting, then was the center of evolution of the novel and now sits at the core of thought about film. Is the viewer an omniscient God, or can the viewer be fooled like a person? Is the viewer a passive observer, or does she `walk' with the participants as an invisible <more>
character? So many clever questions.DePalma thinks the camera is a whole new thing, The camera is a type of character, part narrator, part actor, part god. It can lie, be fooled, search curiously, document, play jokes. So this is a film about the camera's eyes. `Snake' both because the camera can snake around following Cage, going places that Cage cannot, but also `snake' because the camera sees with forked tongue.So we have one seemingly continuous shot of the key scene, which is played first from Cage's perspective, then the fighter's, the Navy guy, the Girl, then the cop again, and finally the `flying eye.' Along the way, every eye trick DePalma can think of is woven in:--The girl's glasses are crushed so she sees less than the audience--The whole mess is about what a satellite sees--The casino has 1000 cameras which our own eyes coopt--The thing is framed by the TV eye--God-like, we scan over several hotel rooms while Cage and Sinese are stuck in the hallway maze--Splitscreen simultaneity--The whole thing is in real time, as if you were living in the actionThis is masterfully intellectual. See it. Forget the story.
I Like This.....Which Surprises Me (by ccthemovieman-1)
Most people didn't like this movie, from what I have heard and read over the years. Some of my friends who saw it didn't like it either. For some reason, I did, and that was despite a few things I normally don't put up with too much usages of the Lord's name in vain and the usual anti-military agenda. However, I found this a very fast-moving, involving story with Nicholas Cage playing an extremely interesting person: "Rick Santoro," a guy who acts like a complete crazy man at the beginning but slowly gets it together as the film goes on. Gary Sinise plays his normal <more>
corrupt role this was before his CSI: New York days and Carla Gugino was very easy on my eyes.Brian DePalma directed this, so you know it's going to be stylishly shot, too. This looks really, really good on the recently-released Blu-Ray.All the characters are interesting, actually. One complaint I agree with: the ending was a bit weak and detracts from the story. It's a rough film but edgy and interesting. Don't be discouraged reading a lot of negative reviews about this. It's good entertainment.
In the vein of great pieces of Hitchcok, Snake Eyes succeeds, it has a mystery from multiple POV's and an excellent twist, which is character pitch perfect. Sure, Nicholas Cage plays an unlikeable character, a dirty cop with a woman on the side, but that doesn't make the fact that his old buddy Cmdr. Kevin Dunne thinks he's the perfect pawn and all the while, Nicholas Cage's Rick Santoro goes from pawn to in control of a wild hellish situation by doing one thing he loves to do, impress people. And so, in the efforts to try and impress people, namely his old military buddy, he <more>
does exactly what Sinise's Dunne doesn't want him to do. He acts like a cop. He does his job, and along the, discovers a pretty good conspiracy that can relate to our times. All the flash and style of the film, from the extended opening shot to the angles, lighting, color and mood help surround these characters in an overwhelming sense of chaos and thrills. I've seen a lot of de Palma's work, and I still think films like Mission: Impossible or the Untouchables or even Carlito's Way are better than this film, but it still does not fail to be a great movie.