Snake Eyes (film)
Snake Eyes film poster
|Directed by||Brian De Palma|
|Screenplay by||David Koepp|
|Story by||Brian De Palma
|Music by||Ryuichi Sakamoto|
|Cinematography||Stephen H. Burum|
|Editing by||Bill Pankow|
|Distributed by||United States
Buena Vista International
|Release date(s)||August 7, 1998|
|Running time||98 minutes|
|Box office||$103,891,409 (worldwide)|
Snake Eyes is a 1998 conspiracy thriller film directed by Brian De Palma, one featuring his trademark use of long tracking shots and split screens. It starred Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise and Carla Gugino.
Released in 1998, the film was written by David Koepp and De Palma, and rated R when released to theaters on August 7 of 1998. It cost an estimated $73 million to produce, returned $103 million worldwide and received a mixed response from critics.
Corrupt Atlantic City police detective Rick Santoro (Nicolas Cage) attends a boxing match at the Atlantic City Arena, owned by casino owner and businessman Gilbert Powell (John Heard), between Heavyweight champion Lincoln Tyler (Stan Shaw) and a newcomer, Jose Pacifico Ruiz. Santoro is with his best friend, US Navy Commander Kevin Dunne (Gary Sinise), who is escorting United States Defense Secretary Charles Kirkland (Joel Fabiani), recently arrived from a trip to Norfolk to get the results of the first test of a new missile guiding system called the AirGuard. During the start of the fight, Dunne is distracted by an attractive woman named Serena (Jayne Heitmeyer) and his seat is taken by Julia Costello (Carla Gugino), a mysterious woman, later revealed to be a government research worker, who speaks to Kirkland. Suddenly, Kirkland and Costello are shot by a sniper, later revealed to be an allegedly Palestinian terrorist. Dunne kills the shooter, and the police order a lockdown on the Arena, while a wounded Costello escapes.
Santoro believes Costello to be connected to Kirkland's death and starts studying the security tapes in order to find her. In the process, he discovers that Tyler allowed himself to be defeated in order to pay gambling debts to the same woman who tricked Dunne into leaving his post. Believing a conspiracy to be taking place, Santoro tells everything to Dunne, unaware that he is the mastermind behind Kirkland's murder and also Serena's boss. Upon realizing that Santoro might discover everything, Dunne first murders Serena and another soldier, whom he had used to tell Tyler when he should fake being knocked out and then makes a deal with Tyler to aid him. He and Santoro then try to find Costello, who has taken shelter in the hotel room of a sleazy man named Ned Campbell (David Anthony Higgins). Santoro gets to her first and, because of Julia's nervous breakdown, discovers that Dunne is behind everything and that the results of the AirGuard test were faked to ensure its production. Costello discovered the deception and warned Kirkland, but Dunne was waiting for her and arranged the entire assassination attempt in order to kill both her and Kirkland.
Santoro hides Costello in a warehouse outside the Arena and confronts Dunne, who tries to bribe Santoro with one million dollar into revealing Costello's location and to look the other way on the whole plan. Santoro is unable to allow someone to be killed so Dunne has Tyler beat him up. Santoro still refuses to speak, so Dunne leaves him alone and follows him to Costello's hideout, just as the Tropical Storm Jezebel breaks out outside. When Santoro and Dunne again meet face-to-face, the water enters the building, washing the badly beaten Santoro and the wounded Costello outside, where the police, tipped off by Santoro, are waiting. They confront Dunne, who, realizing that his plan has failed, commits suicide in front of TV cameras. Santoro is rewarded for his bravery, but the press soon uncovers his illegal dealings and he is fired, abandoned by his wife and his lover, loses the custody of his son and is arrested and eventually convicted. On the day before leaving for jail, Santoro meets Costello, who thanks him for helping her save many soldiers' lives. They kiss and Santoro promises that he'll give her a call after his release in 12-to-18 months. She smiles and leaves, while Santoro muses that the whole ordeal was worth it since he had been on TV.
- Nicolas Cage as Detective Rick Santoro
- Gary Sinise as Commander Kevin Dunne
- Carla Gugino as Julia Costello
- Joel Fabiani as Secretary of Defense Charles Kirkland
- John Heard as Gilbert Powell
- Stan Shaw as Lincoln Tyler (Heavyweight Champion)
- Kevin Dunn as Lou Logan (Casino reporter)
- Michael Rispoli as Jimmy George (Rick's bookie)
- Luis Guzmán as Cyrus (Small-time hood)
- David Anthony Higgins as Ned Campbell (Hotel guest)
- Mike Starr as Walt McGahn (Hotel Security)
- Tamara Tunie as Anthea (TV reporter)
- Jayne Heitmeyer as Serena (Woman in Red)
Released on August 7, 1998, Snake Eyes debuted at No. 2 on its opening weekend (behind Saving Private Ryan), with $16 million. It grossed $55.6 million in North America, and $103.8 million worldwide.
Critical reaction was mixed, with the film receiving a 40% "rotten" score on Rotten Tomatoes - though raised to 50% when only counting audience reviewers. De Palma responded to the criticisms in an interview with Mark Cousins, "There's a lot of discussion in Snake Eyes about why do we reveal who did it so soon. Well the problem is that it isn't about who did it. It's a mystery about a relationship, two people, and how finding that out affects their relationship... Those kind of procedural movies are extremely boring..."
See also 
- "De Palma Backing Down on 'Snake Eyes' Rating? Perhaps". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "Snake Eyes Script - transcript from the screenplay and/or Brian De Palma and Nic Cage movie". Script-o-rama.com. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
- "Private Ryan Maintains Its Ground". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
- "Weekend Warrior 'Ryan' Fells Chiller and Thriller". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "Snake Eyes (1998)". Box Office Mojo. 1998-10-02. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
- "What You See Is What You Get". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "Snake Eyes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
- "FILM REVIEW; In Atlantic City, Luck Is Certainly No Lady". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "Review: 'Snake Eyes' is not a sure bet". CNN. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "Snake Eyes". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- Scene By Scene: Brian De Palma [Television Production]. Scotland. 1998.