Every two weeks this column will shed light on the underseen, underrated, or misunderstood. Most films will be vastly different from one another, so just consider this a bi-weekly recommendation from me. This week’s film is Brian De Palma’s Snake Eyes (1998).
Snake Eyes is a film that I didn’t quite respond to on my first viewing. I liked it of course, but wasn’t nearly as impressed as I’d hoped. However, almost immediately after, it had its claws in me. De Palma does what Rian Johnson would later do in last year’s Knives Out: take the shell of what would be an interesting whodunnit and reveal its hand pretty early, only to focus much more on the character dynamics (although this film strictly focuses on the central relationship). Granted, this is not as overtly a mystery like Knives Out (so don’t take that as a direct comparison), it’s much more of a controlled cat-and-mouse game between the two leads. However, it is just as fun, and it’s quite masterful on a technical level. The opening tracking shot perfectly introduces us to the inner workings of Rick Santoro’s world and who he is (Cage‘s energy is just infectious) while subsequently setting up the murder strictly through his point of view. The continuous additions to the incident through different perspectives constantly keeps you on your feet and engaged regardless of the early reveal. De Palma is a master, and although this wasn’t one of his most well-received films (reviewed quite poorly), it’s essential viewing.
Where to Watch:
Free to stream on Hulu and Starz. Available to rent on VOD platforms ($2.99 SD, $3.99 HD)