Underrated Noir: Snake Eyes


Snake Eyes is from legendary director Brian De Palma.  De Palma was one of the best neo-noir directors through the 1980’s and 90’s.  In one of the coolest and most underrated scenes in movies is the first 20 minutes of this film.  It looks like it is one continues shot, but it is edited together.  There are some other really cool shots in this movie as well, I liked the point of view shots and the hotel room pan shot. Our protagonist is Rick Santoro, played by Nicolas Cage.  He is a dirty cop with a gambling issue.  He is in his town, Atlantic City, where he has ambitions of local politics after his police career ends.  The movie starts with Rick coming to the local casino to watch a Heavy Weight Championship fight with his old classmate, Lincoln Tyler played by Stan Shaw.  He has ringside seats with his friend and Commander in the Navy, Kevin Dunne played by Gary Sinise.  Dunne is there on protection duty for the Secretary of Defense who is there to watch the big fight.  Soon Julia Costello, played by Carla Gugino sits next to Rick at the fight and all hell breaks loose.  I like Gugino as our femme fatale, as she changes from a platinum blond in all white to a brunette in a black jacket, our prospective of her also changes.


This has a very intricate plot and is well executed.  I’m not really sure why this film has such low ratings with a 5.9 on IMDb, 52 on Metascore, and 40% on Rotten Tomatoes.  I watched this in the theater when it first came out and just re-watched it tonight.  I don’t think this is a masterpiece by any means but feel it should be a sold 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5.  If you are a noir fan give this a second chance.