8MM

  • USA 8 Millimeter (working title) (more)
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Nicholas Cage plays Tom Welles, a straight-laced surveillance specialist. His innocent, naive world begins to unravel when he is hired by the widow of an industrialist to investigate what she has shockingly discovered in her late husband's safe. It appears to be a snuff film of a young girl being murdered. In order to discover the truth, he must enter the city's seedy underworld, guided by porn-store clerk Max California (Joaquin Phoenix). (official distributor synopsis)

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Othello 

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English Watching the film, one finds it incredible, but it is the realization of a reworked script that its author Walker distanced himself from because he felt it was fundamentally watered down, something he had experienced since the production of Se7en, where Fincher had nonetheless stood up for him so his vision could remain intact. Here, Walker didn't accept the Dick Tracy-style notion of the private eye, who in his script is supposed to be more of a small-town bumpkin who spends his weekends bowling, and he didn't like the use of the voice over of the murdered woman, the unmasking of the main villain, or the deliverance letter at the end. All of these rewrites were the work of Schumacher, returning from his Mexican sabbatical where he had retreated out of exhaustion from the production of the last Batman. He was given the script to edit out of trust that he would give it a softer tone. Except that Schumacher returned from Mexico not only refreshed but also with a certain bitterness, so while he destroyed Walker's vision of the average suburban yuppie's inability to look into the abyss without being destroyed for life, he rebuilt it into a thesis about the elusiveness, irrationality, and ubiquity of sheer evil. With most of the film being spent searching and delving deeper and deeper into the sewer of illegal pornography, the structure of that evil is also created, with it being represented in its pure form by the Machine, who is used by director Dino Velvet to further his artistic ambitions, and exploited in terms of sheer mammon by Eddie Poole, who is followed by a host of other fish with the same motives. The awesome Elswit-esque grimness and faded shots of this autumnal tale, combined with a look at the declining pornographic landscape due to the advent of the internet, the constant presence of the ending (the empty giant house of a dead tycoon, the leaf-strewn grey home of the protagonist at the end of the street, as well as the main villain's home, which is even adjacent to a cemetery), and the setting of most of the film in the depopulated areas of New York or Los Angeles, closes the 1990s in a way. Everything is slowly shifting to computers, streets are being depopulated, meeting places are becoming desolate, old structures are breaking down, and everyone carries some scars from these wild years that they hope never to be reminded of. PS: 8mm was my childhood VHS classic that I used to watch about twice a week back in the day, and with the BluRay edition, some details I didn't understand at the time were finally explained, the most significant of which was that because of the cropping, it was impossible to see how The Machine actually kills Max. The shot itself was cut off for the sake of the rating and couldn't be seen on the video at all. Another mystery I can check off ()

Stanislaus 

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English 8MM offers a truly raw and visceral excursion into the world of the most brutal porn industry, where the line between perverse pleasure and cold-blooded murder is completely blurred. I was intrigued by the portrayal of the main character Tom Welles, who gradually becomes more and more embroiled in the case as the investigation progresses, and once it is solved, he is not (and could not be) the same as before. Joaquin Phoenix's supporting role added some humour to the plot, otherwise it was a completely depressing story about twisted people and their twisted appetites, which was "dominated" by the character of The Machine. The last third of the film caught my attention the most, and was not lacking in suspense and action. ()

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Marigold 

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English Unlike some reviews, I don't think Joel Schumacher wanted to make a film about snuff, but rather a film about the fascination and obsession with death and its brutality. The snuff 8-millimeter with the murder of an unknown girl, whose identity private investigator Tom Welles is about to investigate, is merely a means of descending into the darkest corners of the human soul, a hell of brutality and inhumanity that eventually devours for a moment even the man who comes into it as a law enforcement officer. Nicholas Cage is amazing. The transformation from a curious investigator to an obsessive and eventually a crazy avenger is masterfully executed. Finally, the positive hero finds himself facing the inevitable questions of "why are they doing this?", "what do they like about it", which, while aimed at murderers, are designed to shed particular light on the growing darkness in his own soul. Something we all have within us. Schumacher is an excellent director, he is able to do things without unnecessary explicitness and visible brutality, yet the atmosphere of 8MM is only slightly less dense and raw than in Fincher's Seven, and it escalates as the end approaches. As a spectator, I found myself in the shoes of Tom Welles, who is disgusted and horrified, but also unable to stop. The question of "why" is too corrosive... This film is simply not a documentary about one of the scariest film genres, but the embodiment of “why" with all the consequences that come with it. An excellent embodiment... It does not give an answer, but it is the basis for (self)analysis. ()

Lima 

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English Andrew Kevin Walker, the screenwriter of two of the darkest thrillers of the 1990s, Se7en and 8mm, must be an interesting nutcase. And Joel Schumacher is a director who has some very bright moments in places, and in one of them he made this amazing and unfortunately underrated thriller, which few films can match in terms of depression and dense atmosphere. The sordid, disgusting setting and the depressing mood of late autumn are underlined by a brilliant, gloomy soundtrack that does not add to the good mood. Peter Stormare's and the great Joaquin Phoenix's performances are unforgettable, and Nicolas Cage also does a good job here. But the biggest strength is the story, it builds up superbly and when you think you’ve arrived to the climax, another one comes in, and yet you don’t feel that the whole thing is a mess. In addition, Cage's telephonic request for "sanction" of his decision is so wonderfully morally ambiguous that it must please any viewer who dislikes black-and-white sketched characters. 8mm is a very impressive film and in my opinion one of the best thrillers of the 1990s. ()

POMO 

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English Joel Schumacher psychologically brutalizes us and the resulting effect is excellent. However, it would have been even better with a more elaborate screenplay with more questions and unexpected twists. Even so, this is a formalistically excellent inducement to depression with brilliant performances by everyone involved. Mentally unstable viewers should avoid 8 MM! ()

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