I was so in the mood to watch this movie and I didn’t even know it till I saw it was on the TV tonight. Once again I find myself in the position of feeling relieved to write a review of a movie which follows a review in which I made comments I ultimately felt a little awkward about and want to clarify. Yes, I compared Brian De Palma to Michael Bay. I sowwie, lol. But seriously, though I love De Palma much much more than Bay (do I really need to say that?), it has to be said that he has had as many ups and downs as Bay. This ain’t one of the downs for me, though, I don’t care what the general consensus is.
I was such a whore for reel-length shots, POV shots and cinematic tomfoolery like that when I first saw this on the big screen in 1998 – I guess I’d probably only just learned about such things at college and got excited every time I noticed them, probably beginning with Boogie Nights the year before. I really thought that watching a movie like this so many years later, with so much more viewing experience under my belt, I’d find myself embarrassed by my former geek as I saw through all the cinematic grandstanding to a thread-bare nothingness much like the aforementioned Miami Vice.
But I can’t deny, this movie still gives me a massive movie geek kick, and as I watched it I couldn’t shake a grin off my face goofier than Nicolas Cage’s in the first half of the movie. It’s exactly the style over substance I mentioned in the aforementioned “Miami Vice” review – the good kind, even, dare I say, the great kind. It may be nonsense, but it has a great prelude, a spectacular finale, and an amusing interim, not to mention a hilariously kinetic performance from Nicolas Cage and a great old fashioned, extremely De Palma-ish (I had to double check it wasn’t his quite frequent collaborator Pino Donaggio) score by Ryuichi Sakamoto.
By the way, and I’m probably just saying this ‘cos I just reminded myself of how geeky I used to be – I’m really not so picky these days – but I recommend watching this, and any Brian De Palma movie, in its full intended widescreen ratio. The TV broadcast I watched was a 16:9 pan-and-scan, and they basically pulled back for the split-screen stuff, so it wasn’t so bad, but you could still see at times how wide the screen was supposed to be and I found myself wishing I still had the DVD. It’s not as bad as some of the 4:3 pan-and-scan De Palma movies I’ve seen, but it’s still a damned nuisance.