Snake Eyes

August 7th, 1998


Snake Eyes

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Still of Nicolas Cage and Carla Gugino in Snake EyesStill of Brian De Palma in Snake EyesAdam Goldberg at event of Snake EyesStill of Nicolas Cage and Gary Sinise in Snake EyesStill of Gary Sinise, John Heard and Joel Fabiani in Snake EyesStill of Nicolas Cage and Stan Shaw in Snake Eyes

A shady police detective finds himself in the middle of a murder conspiracy at an important boxing match in an Atlantic City casino.

Release Year: 1998

Rating: 5.9/10 (37,426 voted)

Critic's Score: 52/100

Director: Brian De Palma

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise, John Heard

Ricky Santoro is a flamboyant and corrupt Atlantic City cop with a dream: become so well connected that he can become mayor. In lieu of that, he'll settle for keeping his comfortable lifestyle. On the night of the heavyweight boxing championship, Rick becomes mixed up in the assassination of the Secretary of Defense, an assassination involving his best friend. Becoming the investigating officer in the case, Rick soon uncovers a conspiracy to kill the Secretary and a mysterious woman in white. The conspiracy was shocking, but not half as shocking as the identity of its mastermind.

Writers: Brian De Palma, David Koepp

Nicolas Cage - Rick Santoro
Gary Sinise - Commander Kevin Dunne
John Heard - Gilbert Powell
Carla Gugino - Julia Costello
Stan Shaw - Lincoln Tyler
Kevin Dunn - Lou Logan
Michael Rispoli - Jimmy George
Joel Fabiani - Charles Kirkland
Luis Guzmán - Cyrus (as Luis Guzman)
David Anthony Higgins - Ned Campbell
Mike Starr - Walt McGahn
Tamara Tunie - Anthea
Chip Zien - Mickey Alter
Michaella Bassey - Tyler's Party Girl #2
Paul Joseph Bernardo - Casino Security #1

Taglines: He's got 14,000 eyewitnesses and no one saw a thing.

Release Date: 7 August 1998

Filming Locations: Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $69,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $16,310,373 (USA) (9 August 1998) (2713 Screens)

Gross: $103,891,409 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The original ending, which was a massive special effects sequence created by Industrial Light and Magic, involved a huge tidal wave going through the casino. This ending was cut out in post-production. Numerous references to it still remain in the final film: a shot near the end of the film shows an ambulance driving down an ocean-side road with a wave about to crash into it before the film cuts to another shot; Nicholas Cage's character talks about almost drowning at the very end of the film; references to a storm are made throughout the entire film, which were all meant to build up to the action-packed climax that was cut out.

Continuity: When Rick and Kevin Dunne are sitting ringside at the fight, the Seceretary of defense is sitting behind them to the right, but when they look at the suspicious redhead, the camera moves toward her but when it comes back to them, they are Kevin Dunne is sitting directly in front of the secretary of defense.

Kevin Dunne: Terri likes to talk to me during sex. Last night she called me from the hotel.

User Review

The Eye That Lies


This is a wonderful experience. Never mind that the acting is poor and the story weak --that was never the point. This film was made because DePalma knows how to make his camera dance and wanted to make a film based on that notion.

A central question in most art concerns the role of the viewer. This dominated easel painting, then was the center of evolution of the novel and now sits at the core of thought about film. Is the viewer an omniscient God, or can the viewer be fooled like a person? Is the viewer a passive observer, or does she `walk' with the participants as an invisible character? So many clever questions.

DePalma thinks the camera is a whole new thing, The camera is a type of character, part narrator, part actor, part god. It can lie, be fooled, search curiously, document, play jokes. So this is a film about the camera's eyes. `Snake' both because the camera can snake around following Cage, going places that Cage cannot, but also `snake' because the camera sees with forked tongue.

So we have one seemingly continuous shot of the key scene, which is played first from Cage's perspective, then the fighter's, the Navy guy, the Girl, then the cop again, and finally the `flying eye.' Along the way, every eye trick DePalma can think of is woven in:

--The girl's glasses are crushed so she sees less than the audience

--The whole mess is about what a satellite sees

--The casino has 1000 cameras which our own eyes coopt

--The thing is framed by the TV eye

--God-like, we scan over several hotel rooms while Cage and Sinese are stuck in the hallway maze

--Splitscreen simultaneity

--The whole thing is in real time, as if you were living in the action

This is masterfully intellectual. See it. Forget the story.


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