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 dates||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 mixed to negative responses from critics.
Corrupt but flamboyant 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 since childhood, 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 redhead named Serena (Jayne Heitmeyer) and his seat is taken by Julia Costello (Carla Gugino), a mysterious woman in a white satin suit and blonde wig and wearing glasses, later revealed to be a government defense analyst, 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, who gets both her glasses and her blonde wig thrown off, revealing her dark brown hair, escapes. After she escapes, Costello, whose blouse is covered in blood, changes into a satin baseball jacket.
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 signal Tyler when he should fake being knocked out and then makes a deal with Tyler to aid him. As Dunne arranges for the dead subordinates to be dumped in concrete supports, 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), and borrows his dress shirt to change into and pretends to seduce him while trying to hide from Dunne's men. Santoro gets to her first and, because of Julia's nervous breakdown and, later, tearful meltdown and depression, 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 tries to warn 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, the real assassin, who tries to bribe Santoro with one million dollars 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. As the credits roll, the camera focuses on a concrete pillar of the building being built behind Santoro and Costello; as the pillar gets closer, a large red gem is shown embedded in it, revealing it as Serena's final resting place (the ring was part of her ensemble).
- Nicolas Cage as Detective Richard "Rick" Santoro
- Gary Sinise as Commander Kevin Dunne
- Carla Gugino as Julia Costello
- Joel Fabiani as Charles Kirkland
- John Heard as Gilbert Powell
- Stan Shaw as Lincoln Tyler
- Kevin Dunn as Lou Logan
- Michael Rispoli as Jimmy George
- Luis Guzmán as Cyrus
- David Anthony Higgins as Ned Campbell
- Mike Starr as Walt McGahn
- Tamara Tunie as Anthea
- Chip Zien as Mickey Alter
- Jayne Heitmeyer as Serena
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 to negative, with the film receiving a 40% "rotten" score on Rotten Tomatoes. 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..."
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