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Snake Eyes

Reviewed by: W.J. Kimble

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
98 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise, Kevin Dunn, Carla Gugino, Luis Guzmán, John Heard, Stan Shaw / Director: Brian De Palma / Released by: Paramount Pictures

“Snake Eyes; the house wins; you lose,” says Major Kevin Dunne (Gary Sinise, “Apollo 13”) to his childhood friend, Rick Santoro (Nicholas Cage, “Con Air”), after having him beaten so badly that he can hardly walk. Snake Eyes? Is that what this world has come to? Have we actually stooped so low that we now accept the belief that life, as we know it, is only a crapshoot? A mere toss of the dice?

I suppose that in a world where God is placed on the shelf and forgotten, this is reality. For them, a few lucky souls win big, while the rest struggle to make ends meet. In fact, many lose everything they have trying to make it to the “eastside” and like the Jeffersons, in the TV series, finally obtain that “deluxe apartment in the sky” (and get their “piece of the pie”).

And what about Dunne ordering his longtime friend to be beaten? Is Hollywood trying to tell us that friendship, loyalty, and camaraderie are things of the past? Are we supposed to believe that these attributes are something to be cast aside and no longer to be desired? Are we to believe that money, and the pursuit of it, overrides all bets and that friendships are well and good as long as they do not interfere with our goal to obtain wealth?

“Snake Eyes” is a movie about corruption, infidelity and avarice. Santoro, a corrupt detective on the Atlantic City police force, witnesses the assassination of the Secretary of Defense, while attending a prizefight at a local casino. During his investigation, Santoro discovers that the heavyweight champion, Lincoln Tyler (Stan Shaw, “Fried Green Tomatoes”), had thrown the fight. This revelation leads Santoro to a wealth of information; which ultimately leads him to Dunne, a Naval officer assigned to protect the Secretary of Defense, and his involvement in the assassination plot.

The movie has a lot of twists and turns; but for the most part, you can figure it out long before it is revealed. To make it more interesting, the director had to add titillating scenes. There is no nudity, but a lot of cleavage shown. Twice Julia Costello (Michael) is seen in the bathroom, standing in her bra and panties, washing the blood out of her clothes. Another time, a man is seen placing his head into a lady’s crotch (they both are in their underwear). And still another scene contains a man unzipping his pants thinking that the woman, who is sitting facing him, will give him oral sex. And of course, there is a lot of profanity.

“Snake Eyes” will probably be as well viewed as the Powell Pay-Per-View Company that filmed the prizefight. Not many will see it.

Viewer Comments

A Rebuttal:

Here are the comments of the real pros: Roger Ebert (1 star out of 4) {footnote:1/4 is worse than 2.5 of 5 = 1/2} “It’s the worst kind of bad film.” James Berardinelli (2½ out of 4) “…every scene in Snake Eyes uses a brash, in-your-face approach that works until the disappointing climax.” Box Office Online: reviewed by: Wade Major “Unfortunately, as is too often the case with larger, studio offerings nowadays, “Snake Eyes” suffers somewhat in the script department, lacking the unforeseen and often perverse twists and turns…” Los Angeles Daily News reviewed by: Glenn Whipp, rating: 2½ “You leave the theater a dissatisfied customer.” San Francisco Chronicle “For all the fancy footwork in “Snake Eyes,” there is no center of gravity, emotional tie or compelling interest that might keep the audience enthralled.” CNN Showbiz: Paul Clinton “But whatever chills and thrills are achieved in this cinematic effort are found in his direction, not the screenplay.” SCREEN IT!: 6/10 (this equates to a 3 out of 5) New York Post reviewed by: Rod Dreher [1½/4] Knoxville News-Sentinel reviewed by: Betsy Pickle [2/5] Bob’s Movie Reviews reviewed by Justin K. Seigel [1/4] Cinematter reviewed by: Matt Williams [2/4] Charlie Don’t Surf reviewed by James Kendrick [2/4]

I think this establishes the fact that the movie quality (rating) that I gave is consistent with the majority of reviewers on the Internet, in the newspapers and on television. I try hard to be fair and unbiased. I am not trying to be the expert, but I am trying to give my honest opinion in these matters. In all fairness to these 2 gentlemen who wrote in, it is true that the opening scenes are spectacular. However, the overall movie quality is less than topnotch!

Rev. WJ Kimble, CFC

I have to agree with Brian. 2 stars for moviemaking quality??!! The direction, editing, and overall technique of the film was absolutely brilliant! Unfortunately, the dialogue at certain times was laughable, and the story itself lost momentum half way through.
Steve, age 33
Two and a half stars for moviemaking quality? That opening tracking shot (continuous camera-work, in real-time without any cuts) was brilliant; the split-image photography, as different characters retrace their steps, was brilliant. Granted, the movie falls apart at the end, but the opening sequence is definitely worth writing home about. Just my .02 cents, thanks.
Brian, age 25