|Directed by||Joel Schumacher|
|Produced by||Judy Hofflund
|Written by||Andrew Kevin Walker|
|Music by||Mychael Danna|
|Editing by||Mark Stevens|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||123 minutes|
Private investigator Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) is contacted by Daniel Longdale (Anthony Heald), attorney for wealthy widow Mrs. Christian (Myra Carter), whose husband has recently died. While clearing out her late husband's safe, she and Mr. Longdale found an 8 mm film which appears to depict a real murder, but Mrs. Christian wants to know for certain.
After looking through missing persons files, Welles discovers the girl is Mary Ann Mathews, and visits her mother, Janet Mathews (Amy Morton). While searching the house with her permission, he finds Mary Ann's diary, in which she says she went to Hollywood to become a film star. He asks Mrs. Mathews if she wants to know the truth, even if it is a horrible one. She says that she wants to know what happened to her daughter.
In Hollywood, with the help of an adult video store employee called Max California (Joaquin Phoenix), Welles penetrates the underworld of illegal pornography. Contact with a sleazy talent scout named Eddie Poole (James Gandolfini) leads them to director Dino Velvet (Peter Stormare), whose violent pornographic films star a masked man known as "Machine". To gain more evidence, Welles pretends to be a client interested in commissioning a hardcore bondage film to be directed by Velvet and starring Machine. Velvet agrees and arranges a meeting in New York City.
At the meeting, attorney Longdale appears and explains that Christian had contracted him to procure a snuff film. Longdale says that he told Velvet that Welles might come looking for them. Realizing that the snuff film was authentic, Welles knows he is at risk. Velvet and Machine produce a bound and beaten California, whom they abducted to force Welles to bring them the only surviving copy of the illegal film. Once he delivers it, they burn it and kill California. As they are about to kill Welles, he tells them that Christian had paid $1,000,000 for the film and that the reason Christian wanted the film made was for the simple reason that he had enough money to make it possible. Velvet, Poole, and Machine received much less and that Longdale kept the major portion. In an ensuing fight, Velvet and Longdale are both killed; Welles wounds Machine and escapes.
He calls Mrs. Christian to tell her his discoveries and recommends going to the police, to which she agrees. Arriving at her estate, Welles is told that Mrs. Christian committed suicide after hearing the news. She left envelopes for the Mathews family and Welles: it contains the rest of his payment and a note reading, "Try to forget us."
Welles decides to seek justice for the murdered girl by killing the remaining people involved. Tracking down Poole, Welles takes him to the shooting location and tries to kill him. He calls Mrs. Mathews to tell her about her daughter and asks for her permission to punish those responsible. With that, he returns and pistol-whips Poole to death, burning his body and pornography from his car. Welles traces Machine and attacks him at home. Welles unmasks him, revealing a bald, bespectacled man named George (Chris Bauer). He says, "What did you expect? A monster?" George goes on to tell Welles that he has no ulterior motive for his sadistic actions; he does them simply because he enjoys it. They struggle, and Welles kills him.
After returning to his family, Welles receives a letter from Mrs. Mathews, thanking him and suggesting he and she were the only ones to care about Mary Ann.
- Nicolas Cage as Tom Welles
- Joaquin Phoenix as Max California
- Jenny Powell as Mary Ann Mathews
- James Gandolfini as Eddie Poole
- Peter Stormare as Dino Velvet
- Anthony Heald as Daniel Longdale
- Chris Bauer as George Anthony Higgins a.k.a. Machine
- Catherine Keener as Amy Welles
- Norman Reedus as Warren Anderson
- Myra Carter as Mrs. Christian
- Amy Morton as Janet Mathews
- Torsten Voges as Stick
- 1999, 8mm was nominated in the 49th Berlin International Film Festival for the Golden Berlin Bear Award.
- 1999, Golden Fleece Award at the Golden Trailer Awards.
The film garnered negative reactions from critics. It has a 22% rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 78 reviews. Critic Roger Ebert gave the film three stars, saying: "8mm is a real film. Not a slick exploitation exercise with all the trappings of depravity but none of the consequences. Not a film where moral issues are forgotten in the excitement of an action climax".
The film's music was conducted by Mychael Danna. It was released on CD by Chapter III in 1999, with a total of 20 tracks:
- "The Projector" (1:20)
- "The House" (2:05)
- "The Call" (1:44)
- "The Film" (1:10)
- "Cindy" (0:56)
- "Missing Persons" (4:46)
- "What Would You Choose" (3:11)
- "Hollywood" (2:51)
- "Unsee" (1:20)
- "Dance With the Devil" (5:36)
- "The Third Man" (1:14)
- "Loft" (1:56)
- "No Answer" (1:47)
- "I Know All About..." (1:41)
- "366 Hoyt Ave." (1:46)
- "Scene of the Crime" (5:52)
- "Machine" (3:30)
- "Rainstorm" (3:49)
- "Home" (1:32)
- "Dear Mr. Wells" (1:54)
- 8mm 2, unrelated 2005 film
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