Snake Eyes

Snake Eyes

directed by Brian De Palma

starring Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise and John Heard

Nobody makes films like Brian De Palma, except maybe Alfred Hitchcock, and of course, he’s not making films any more. The big, exciting, Hicthcockian thriller is in short supply at present. It is probably out of fashion but it shouldn’t be.

Snake Eyes is one of many tributes to Hitchcock that DePalma has built his career on, and it’s a noble occupation. The plot may be nothing but a series of McGuffins (a Hitchcock term for generic plot points), but that’s entertainment. The film’s focus may be Cage’s over-the-top performance, but it’s all about a spectacular use of the camera. The other debt Snake Eyes has is to Kurasowa, whose Rashomon is the blueprint for depicting an event from various perspectives. An Atlantic City casino is a particularly brilliant place to reconstruct an event, because there are literally video cameras everywhere. Probably the most interesting thing about Snake Eyes is the ability to make a movie out of just surveillance video.

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