November 6th, 2012

BLAST FROM THE PAST REVIEW: 8 MM (1999) *** ½

The other day I was going through some old clothes in the attic. When I tried on an old leather jacket, I found a wadded up Post-It note in one of the pockets. As it turned out, on the note was a chicken scratch version of a review I wrote for 8 MM. Now, before the creation of The Video Vacuum website I wrote capsule reviews in a Xeroxed fanzine of the same name. This review was written even before that (I’d say probably about 2002) and somehow never found its way into the 'zine. If you’ve read any of my shorter reviews from 2007, they were mostly all taken from the fanzine. Because of space constraints, I had to make the reviews small in scale. (And speaking of space constraints, I was able to squeeze quite a lot onto a small Post-It note.)

For me, it’s cool re-reading this little mini-review. I hope you feel the same way. So without further ado; here’s my ten year old review of 8 MM (with very little editing). Enjoy:

Dark, moody, and violent thriller in which a rich widower finds a snuff film in her husband’s safe. She hires detective Nicolas Cage to verify if the film (in which a young girl is brutally murdered) is real. His investigation leads him down a spiral of assorted sleaze merchants and pornographers.

The film is disturbing and bleak, but filled with good performances from Cage, Joaquin Phoenix as an adult video store clerk who helps Cage, Catherine Keener as Cage’s wife, James Gandolfini, and Peter Stormare as a crazed porn director guru who makes “specialty films”. This was a big departure for Joel Schumacher after the Batman sequels and because of the downbeat subject matter, it was not a hit.

Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker also wrote Seven.