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*Also starring: Catherine Keener, Myra Carter, James Gandolfini, Anthony Heald, Peter Stormare, Christopher Bauer

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1.  Susan Granger review follows no stars
2.  MrBrown read the review movie reviewmovie review
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5.  Greg King read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Susan Granger
0 stars out of 4

The "MM" stands for millimeter, as in film, but it could also mean murky melodrama because that's what this is. The plot, written by Andrew Kevin Walker ("Seven") and directed by Joel Schumacher ("Batman and Robin"), revolves around the sordid world of violent, sexual pornography. Nicolas Cage, who often specializes in weird, off-beat characters ("Face/Off," "Wild at Heart," "Leaving Las Vegas"), plays a low-key family man, a "surveillance specialist"or private detective, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who becomes involved with the estate of a rich, recently deceased tycoon when the man's widow finds a mysterious reel of film in her husband's safe. It appears to be an illegal snuff film - that is, the lurid, brutal slaughter of a teenage-girl by a man wearing a leather mask and wielding a machete. (You only see a brief glimpse of the actual snuff footage since the movie initially received an NC-17 rating and had to be trimmed for a more acceptable R-rating.) Cage's job is to investigate and a porn-store clerk - that's Joaquin Phoenix - becomes his guide to the dark, sleazy underworld. Dark is an operative word here because most of the film is dimly lit. Not only is the subject matter distasteful and depressing, but there is nothing original about the way the film is presented. The way Cage reacts while watching the horrifying snuff film parallels George C. Scott's reaction in "Hardcore" (1979) and film buffs will spot subsequent resemblances to "Taxi Driver," and "Seven." The bizarre characters are implausible, undeveloped, and unintentionally funny at times. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "8 MM" is a kinky, grisly 1. Unsavory and unpleasant: violence against women is not entertainment.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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