Starring: Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise, Carla Gugino, John Heard, Kevin Dunn, Michael Rispoli, Mike Starr
Directed By: Brian De Palma
The Plot: Nicolas Cage plays an over the top Atlantic City detective tasked with trying to unravel a very complicated assassination attempt on the Secretary Of Defense.
What Works: Really well shot. There are some fantastic camera angles. I loved the hotel sequence where the camera pans up and shows an overhead view of what’s going on in various hotel rooms. There’s also some really cool split-screens that show what’s happening in two places at the same time. Brian De Palma isn’t always the most consistent director, but he has a ton of talent, and when he delivers, the film looks incredible. Cage is over the top as usual, but it’s a decent performance still. The plot is nice and twisty, and the screenplay is overall good. Also, the film moves really fast, so it never has pacing issues. And, it has a great score.
What Doesn’t Work: When you cast people who automatically read as bad guys in supporting roles, I automatically assume they are the bad guy. When Gary Sinise hit the scene, I knew he was the bad guy. It didn’t surprise me. The story is good enough that if the casting had just been different, the movie might have been more surprising. We needed someone who is typically a “good guy” to play Dunne. Dunne is supposed to be a good guy, so naturally having a Matt Damon/Ben Affleck type in the role would have felt more natural, allowing for a more solid delivery of the twist.
Final Word: An above average thriller that you might have heard sucks. However, there’s a lot to like about Brian De Palma’s direction here. The casting of Sinise ruined the twist for me, but I still thought the acting was solid. For lovers of film, I’d say definitely watch this for De Palma’s direction.
Final Grade: B+