Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Snake Eyes (1998)



Reviews and Comments

The first two thirds of Snake Eyes is intriguing and visually impressive. The first fifteen minutes is almost all one take (there's a couple places where there are probably hidden cuts, but I can't say for sure), and there are several other long takes. They are extremely complex, kinetic takes, too -- lots of things are involved that are perfectly timed. A murder is committed at a boxing match; while unraveling what happened, we see the complicated sequence of events multiple times, from different angles, including once where two different views are seen simultaneously. The director, Brian de Palma, has done this kind of thing before in Blow Out. Here it works very well; combined with the movie's effective visual style, this is one exciting mystery.

The last third of Snake Eyes is suspenseless, gruesome, cliche-ridden, and laughably improbable. It's disheartening to see a movie with so much potential crumble under its own weight. It's as if all the talent behind the camera was so preoccupied with the first part of the movie that they didn't have time to bring it to a satisfying close and hired some two bit hack writer to finish it off. The movie left a poor taste in my mouth, even though I still recall the first two thirds with admiration and fondness.