[box cover]

Snake Eyes

Atlantic City cop Rick Santoro (Nicolas Cage) is asked to join the U.S. Secretary of Defense's security detail at a local boxing match, but when the Secretary is assassinated during the first round, Santoro finds himself immersed in a conspiracy and has the arena sealed off as he searches for the killers. Director Brian De Palma dug in to his cinematic bag of tricks for Snake Eyes and it's all on the screen: asynchronous narrative, extended StediCam takes, whip pans, split screens, overhead tracking shots, and some remarkable montage sequences. The skillful storytelling makes Snake Eyes worth watching, but the remaining elements of the film are not up to the task. Gary Sinise, as the Secretary's head of security, delivers an interesting, restrained performance, but Cage goes way over the top with his part, which seems to be an excessive rehash of the Caster Troy character in Face/Off, except that this time it's not threatening, just annoying. The plot moves at an acceptable pace, but with the entire film clocking in at well under two hours, it seems too brief, and leads one to believe that De Palma must have left a lot of material in the editing bay. Check out his 1981 Blow Out with John Travolta if you'd like to see a better version of a similar story. Very good DD 5.1, acceptable picture (but with a few shimmer effects on tight details), trailer.

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