Netflix Daily Pick: ‘Snake Eyes’ (1998)

Today's Pick is a gripping thriller starring Nicolas Cage.

Snake Eyes is a 1998 drama about a shady police detective who finds himself in the middle of a murder conspiracy at an important boxing match in an Atlantic City casino.

Today’s Netflix Pick is a somewhat curious thriller from one of the master’s of the genre. Starring Nicolas Cage and Gary Sinise, it’s perhaps best known for a remarkable opening tracking shot that is nearly worth the price of admission alone for how well it’s put together, but the film, despite its critics, is nonetheless a great time at the movies. It’s Snake Eyes and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

THE STORY: Directed by Brian De Palma, it’s set on the night of a terrible storm in Atlantic City, where police detective Rick Santoro (Nicolas Cage), a wildly colorful and exaggerated character, attends a championship boxing match at the Atlantic City Arena. He runs into Kevin Dunne (Gary Sinise), his childhood friend, now U.S. Navy Commander, in town to escort Defense Secretary Charles Kirkland (Joel Fabiani) to the fight. What follows are gunshots, an assassination, a beautiful brunette, and a number of misdirections that leave the arena, and all it’s many thousands in attendance, in lockdown as Rick works with Kevin to try and figure out who fired the shot and why. But things are not always how they look and people are not who they claim to be. Sounds good, right?

Snake Eyes
Snake Eyes, 1998 © Paramount Pictures

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: Let’s start with that excellent unbroken tracking shot at the start which runs more than 10 minutes as it introduces both the Rick character and the setting in which he’ll spend the remainder of the film. It’s a thing of beauty. That aside, the movie becomes a real potboiler and trying to stay ahead of the game is no easy task, despite the clues. It does seem to show it’s cards early, but even with the big secret revealed, there’s plenty left to savor as the film shifts from mystery to drama with two great performances from Cage and Sinise. Give this a watch. It’s well worth the time, if anything for the sheer technical genius of De Palma. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.

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