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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, German, Hebrew, Czech, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Turkish, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Hindi
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - by Joel Schumacher
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Awards/Nominations

8MM (Eight Millimeter)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 119 mins . R . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Well, I'm stunned. Joel Schumacher is still capable of making a good film. Still reeling from the one-two knockout blow dealt by the atrocities that were the last two Batman films, and steering well clear of 'A Time to Kill' (Just Say No to Grisham), I had written him off as another Hollywood hack, a ponytailed Garry Marshall kow-towing to focus groups and delivering bland, multimillion-dollar pap that, despite the 'wonderful preview numbers' from morons gathered from the street, are universally loathed.

I certainly didn't loath this thriller. It's taut, intense and gritty enough to make the occasional dodgy line or premise bearable, and Cage gives a typically fine, layered performance. He plays Tom Welles, a talented but inexperienced private investigator hired to hunt down the origins of a reel of 8mm film recovered from a recently-deceased millionaires vault. The reason? The film depicts a young girl being brutally murdered. The widow needs to know the truth, and so too does Tom. With a young daughter of his own, he cannot come to terms with the senselessness of the act. The further he goes, the more troubled he becomes.

  Video
Contract

Columbia have delivered an excellent quality video transfer. Anamorphically-enhanced, and presented in 2.35:1 widescreen only, the image is close behind the best film-to-disc transfers I have seen. Besides a minor amount of aliasing in a couple of scenes, which is unavoidable with the amount of detail the transfer offers, I really can't fault the video quality. Film artifacts are nearly non-existent.

The cinematography is especially worthy of note. The director of photography, Robert Elswit, worked on Boogie Nights (amongst other films) and his eye for detail is really quite astonishing here. Every location has its own mood and visual style, which helps keep track of the cities Welles travels through in his investigations.

I'm not sure whether I should attribute it to Elswit or Schumacher (I suspect the former), but the framing for the widescreen aspect ratio is truly wonderful. Most scenes will look absolutely terrible in pan-and-scan. The layer change occurs at the end of Chapter 19, and isn't obtrusive.

  Audio
Contract

Again, an excellent soundtrack, which although not the subwoofer shaker that some consider essential to be showcase material, conveys space and mood very well. I found the music very interesting, and upon checking on the portfolio of the composer, Mychael Danna, I find that he did music for The Ice Storm and The Sweet Hereafter (which I own but haven't seen yet).

The audio is available in 5.1 English and 5.1 German. Dialogue is clear, music is very well recorded, and the film can be watched at cinema levels without having to turn on the cinema equalisation. Hurray!

  Extras
Contract

The film has a reasonable number of extras, but still falls far short of the amount required for me to consider it a special edition. You've got your standard advertising promo, which tells you virtually nothing that the full-screen trailer doesn't, basic filmographies, and a full-length commentary by Joel Schumacher, who lapses into the annoying 'and this is a woman' style of talking at times which is rather annoying, but sounds like it could have some useful information in it.

You do also get 15 subtitle options, including Hindi, Icelandic and Hebrew!

  Overall  
Contract

I wasn't expecting to like this film. I knew I appreciated Nicholas Cage, but was very wary of Schumacher's sensibilities. Despite my misgivings, I was surprisingly entertained by 8mm, and while I don't expect it to have much repeat viewing value for me, it does what it does very well indeed. I'd recommend checking the disc out if you're a fan, and it's certainly worth a rental.


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    ""
    - Paul Dossett
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Rom:
          Pioneer 103(s)
    • MPEG Card:
          RealMagic Hollywood Plus
    • TV:
          Mitsubishi Diva 33
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha DSP-A1
    • Speakers:
          Richter Excalibur
    • Centre Speaker:
          Richter Unicorn
    • Surrounds:
          Richter Hydras
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Monster s-video
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