Welles discovers the identity of the young girl, and eventually he meets and questions the girl’s mother played by Amy Morton, (Rookie Of The Year, Falling Down) and the investigation turns into an obsession. The trail soon leads Welles to Max California (Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator, Return To Paradise) the clerk at an adult bookstore who has connections to individuals in the pornography industry.
Eventually, Welles finds Eddie Poole, (James Gandolfini, The Mexican, The Sopranos) who runs an adult film making company in New York. Convinced that Poole knows what happened in the film, Welles begins surveiling the smut king in the hopes that he would make a mistake that would lead to the truth, and, more importantly, to the identity of the masked sadist who wielded the weapon in the film.
Welles and his would-be sidekick California wind up in New York looking for Dino Velvet (Peter Stormare, The Big Lebowski, Armageddon) who made the film for Poole. Velvet is the lowest of the low, a man with no scruples or morals, and seemingly devoid of anything resembling a conscience. When Welles discovers the truth, his obsession becomes a vendetta, leading to a high charged climax.
The movie is reminiscent of the 1979 George C. Scott film Hardcore, but is much more compelling and suspenseful than that effort. 8MM takes the viewer into the gutter of an already gutter-level industry. Someone who watched the movie with me said it best when she said “watching that left me feeling like I need a shower”.
The film offers a nice mix of suspense and drama, and is never slow. While James Gandolfini and Joaquin Phoenix both excel in their roles, Cage’s acting seems a bit forced or wooden at times and this is surprising considering this is the type of character he portrays best. Catherine Keener, (who did a great job as Maxine in 1999’s Being John Malkovich) is also in good form, in her supporting effort as Welles’ wife, Amy. Overall, the entire cast turned in a good performance, with excellent characterization and scripting.
Some people will find it disturbing, while others will find it in some ways enthralling, but chances are you will remember 8MM.
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