Snake Eyes

1998

Snake Eyes

Critics Consensus

Snake Eyes has a number of ingredients that promise a trashy fun time; unfortunately, they're lost in an energetic and stylish thriller with a frustratingly hollow core.

40%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 65

35%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 62,213
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Snake Eyes Photos

Movie Info

Brian DePalma directed this taut thriller, set in Atlantic City, where a corrupt cop investigates a political assassination. Outside an Atlantic City arena-hotel-casino, a TV news reporter stands in a pre-hurricane storm to report on the heavyweight boxing match about to begin inside. A transition to the stadium interior focuses on Atlantic City homicide Detective Rick Santoro (Nicolas Cage), a father with a wife and son, yet also a dishonest cop who maintains a mistress and cheerfully accepts bribes. DePalma's Steadicam follows Santoro on a fast-paced tour of the stadium as the laughing, yelling detective travels stairs and hallways, talks to a gal with a between-rounds placard, visits the dressing room of champ Lincoln Tyler (Stan Shaw), rides down an escalator to squeeze money from a small-time hood, enters the arena of 14,000 fight fans, talks on his phone with his girlfriend and wife, and sits ringside next to his lifelong buddy, Navy Cmdr. Kevin Dunne (Gary Sinise). Behind Dunne, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Charles Kirkland (Joel Fabiani) is seated alongside billionaire casino owner Gilbert Powell (John Heard). As the fight gets underway, Dunne abandons his position protecting the defense chief to pursue a suspicious redhead. From his ringside vantage point, Santoro has a close view of the champ, curiously conscious despite taking a kayo punch. At that moment, an assassin fires at Kirkland. Santoro immediately concocts a good cover story for his pal (to explain why Dunne left his post protecting Kirkland). Just after the shooting, Dunne kills a Palestinian extremist, the apparent killer, and Santoro orders the stadium doors locked, hoping he can locate other suspects among the fleeing crowd. One such is Julia Costello (Carla Gugino), an injured woman in a blond wig who spoke with Kirkland seconds before the gunfire. After a video replay reveals the champ took a fall, going down to the floor from a punch that never touched him, Santoro becomes more curious and suspicious, comparing witness accounts, and he attempts to locate Julia, convinced she's the key to truth behind the assassination. As it all comes to a head, Santoro peels through successive layers of corruption, ultimately confronting himself in a self-examination of his own values. Filmed at Montreal's old Forum. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

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Cast

Nicolas Cage
as Det. Rick Santoro
Gary Sinise
as Cdr. Kevin Dunne
John Heard
as Gilbert Powell
Carla Gugino
as Julia Costello
Stan Shaw
as Lincoln Tyler
Kevin Dunn
as Lou Logan
Michael Rispoli
as Jimmy George
Joel Fabiani
as Secretary Charles Kirkland
Mike Starr
as Walt McGahn
Chip Zien
as Mickey Alter
Christain Napoli
as Michael Santoro
Adam C. Flores
as Jose Pacifico Ruiz
Chip Chuipka
as Zietz/Drunk
Michaella Bassey
as Tyler's Party Girl No. 2
Paul Joseph Bernardo
as Casino Security No. 1
Jernard Burks
as Tyler's Bodyguard
Desmond Campbell
as Arena Security No. 1
Jean-Paul Chartrand
as Ring Announcer
Deano Clavet
as Arena Security
Tara Ann Culp
as Lady at Elevator
Kelly Deadmon
as Blonde Reporter
Frédérick De Grandpré
as College Boy No. 1
Sébastien Delorme
as College Boy No. 4
George Fourniotis
as Blue Shirt No. 3
Alain Goulem
as PPV Director
Dean Hagopian
as Latecomer
Byron Johnson
as College Boy No. 2
Guy Kelada
as Blue Shirt
Sylvain Landry
as Remote Producer
Cary Lawrence
as Powell's Aide
Richard Lemire
as Agent No. 2
William J. McKeon III
as Anthea's Cameraman
Jason Nuzzo
as Coin Cup Grabber
Patrick Parent
as Detective
Peter Patrikios
as Coin Cup Decoy
Jacynthe Rene
as Couple No. 1
Stephen Spreekmeester
as College Boy No. 3
Eva Tep
as Tyler's Party Girl No. 1
John Thaddeus
as Cop No. 2
Brian Anthony Wilson
as Casino Security No. 2
Richard Zeman
as Agent No. 1
Gerard Max Desilus
as Tyler's Party Crash Guy
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News & Interviews for Snake Eyes

Critic Reviews for Snake Eyes

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (39)

  • Wispy threads of dramatic plausibility and character involvement unravel completely by the time of the incredibly silly final reel.

    Sep 18, 2008

    Todd McCarthy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Never loses its bearings as it hovers between preposterous paranoia and a Billy-Wilder-like moral fable about a deeply flawed hero who draws a line in the sand beyond which he cannot go.

    Apr 27, 2007 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Observer
    Top Critic
  • The film echoes the technical wizardry and complex plotting of De Palma's best film, Blow Out.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Director Brian De Palma does his stylish best to weave the patchy script into a cinematic quilt, but despite his best efforts -- and they're often formidable -- the thing just doesn't cohere.

    Jul 12, 2002 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • What might have been fascinating after a while becomes frustrating and, finally, a real slog.

    Jun 18, 2002 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • It's the worst kind of bad film: the kind that gets you all worked up and then lets you down, instead of just being lousy from the first shot.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Snake Eyes

  • Aug 29, 2012
    DePalma gets a lot of mileage out of long takes, split screens, and the "Rashomon effect" here. . . but his stylistic excellence only make a film work if he's got a decent script, and this one isn't so good. Also, Cage gives a performance that's scatterbrained at best.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 30, 2012
    Watch carefully. Director Brian De Palma crafts a gripping thriller with Snake Eyes. When the Secretary of Defense is shot during a boxing title fight, Atlantic City cop Rick Santoro discovers a conspiracy that rocks him to the core. Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise, and Carla Gugino all give good performances. And, De Palma does a good job setting up the mystery and building the suspense. Still, parts of the film are messy and the tone is unbalanced at times. Snake Eyes has a few issues, but it's entertaining and has a compelling mystery.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 19, 2012
    'Ricky' Santoro: It isn't lying! You just tell them what you did right, and you leave out the rest!  "Believe everything except your eyes." Snake Eyes is a tale of two halves. The first half was amazing, exciting, and just a great setup for a thriller. The second half didn't live up to the standards of the first, and ended up only disappointing me. Still, this was an interesting and cool film from De Palma. It isn't up there with his best, but it is still a lively and entertaining thriller. The endings disappointment may be a little too much for most, but I was able to get over it and still find enjoyment with the whole production. Even when the movie ended up running out of steam at about the hour mark; it still managed to be pretty cool and never got boring. Part of the entertainment is the eccentric performance from Nicholas Cage. This performance from him came when he wasn't a complete laughingstock. I am one of the few who actually like his eccentric performances in movies like this and Bad Lieutenant. It's when he sleepwalks through performances in shitty movies, that I hate him.  I'll only talk about the setup for Snake Eyes as I don't want to give away too many details. Ricky is a corrupt cop, who is at a heavyweight fight. He has money down on the favorite. As the fight goes on, he and everyone else witness an assassination. He, along with his naval friend, try to figure out everyone who was behind this; as it wasn't just the shooter. There's a major plot twist that De Palma sort of undersells, but probably because it was predictable. The film could have taken a few different routes and the one Koepp and De Palma chose may not be the best, but as it is, it isn't too bad.  Just don't expect another masterpiece from De Palma with Snake Eyes. It is definitely not up to standards with the best of his work. Still, it is a cool little thriller. Nothing more and nothing less. When looked at as it is, it isn't too bad. I know a lot of people hate it just because it has another wacky performance from Cage. More people hate it because the ending didn't really wrap it up in a satisfactory way. For me, I like it because of Cage and because of the amazing setup. It could have been much better, but it is a decent effort nonetheless. 
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 26, 2012
    Surprisingly good, especially considering this is a Nicolas Cage film. But its interesting POV-based storytelling is what makes this an interesting film--every character sees something different, and its only by putting all of their perspectives together that the crime can be fully revealed.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer

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