The 90’s were clearly when Nicolas Cage was at his prime, starring in 21 films over the decade, including some of his most memorable and goofiest performances in Face/Off, The Rock & John Cusack’s all time favourite, Con Air. In 8MM however, Nic Cage dumbs down the overacting goofiness that we have all come to love, taking a backseat to allow Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini and Peter Stormare take centre stage with their goofy, somewhat off the wall characters.
The basic plot of this 90’s crime thriller is quite the peculiar one, in which a recent widow finds her dead husbands porn stash (Filthy Bugger), and in his little secret stash finds, what she believes to be, a naughty little snuff film. She then enrols Private Eye Nic Cage with the task of diving head first into the world of porno and discovering if this snuff film is in fact a snuff film.
This involves Nic Cage taking part in some pretty standard detective work, driving round asking people what’s up to a funky 90’s soundtrack. Then things start spicing up a bit when he meets Joaquin Phoenix, a customer service assistant at a humble little sex shop who loves wearing extremely tight leather tee shirts, who joins forces with Nic Cage to add abit of a buddy comedy aspect to this slowly darkening thriller.
The story then continues to get weirder and stranger as Joaquin takes Nic on a journey of the pornographic underworld, where they are introduced to the main antagonists, a dirty little casting director (Gandolfini), and an evil bastard of a porn baron (Stormare), who manage to make the story even more weirder by introducing their gimp mask wearing henchman, basically a cross between Odd-Job from Gold Finger, Bane from Batman Forever and your everyday gimp.
All together this film is really quite the easy going goof, if you take it with a pinch of salt of course, as nowadays I could imagine people would be easily triggered by its pornographic subject matter. The story, as crazy as it is, is still the standard whodunit crime thriller with some eccentric performances from now mainstream actors, even including a cameo from Norman Reedus, now a household name as Daryl Dixon. Nicolas Cage puts in a solid performance as well and seems to find a happy medium between underacting and overacting, something he seems to struggle with today. The only issue with the film is that you may need to shower afterwards due to its down right dirty pornographic undertones.
A downright dirty Gub.