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AV Club Review
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017
RICHARD LUCK ON TRUMP FIGURE IN 'SNAKE EYES'
"AS A SNAPSHOT OF ATLANTIC CITY IN THE LATE 1990s, THEN, SNAKE EYES SIMPLY CAN'T BE BEATEN


Richard Luck posted about Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes yesterday at Right Casino:
“Having done a lot of reading about Howard Hughes for another project, I found myself wondering what it would be like if a murder took place during a prize fight at a casino,” an unusually loquacious De Palma told [Charlie] Rose ahead of Snake Eyes’ release. “Hughes was always inviting bigwigs to the fights in Las Vegas and talking business. And as I'd grown up in Philadelphia and had seen how the casinos had come to effect Atlantic City, I thought that environment was the perfect place to stage a murder.”

Borrowing liberally from Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo [Editor's note: I think he really means Kurosawa's Rashomon] – in which a crime is viewed from a variety of different perspectives – and pretty much any Hitchcock movie you care to think of, De Palma fashioned a film that’s as big on style as it is small on substance. If the film is ultimately rather frivolous, it’s sure to fascinate anyone who’s either visited Atlantic City or harbours dreams of taking in the wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Of particular interest is the flamboyant Gilbert Powell. Played by John Heard of Cat People and Home Alone fame, Powell is very clearly the film’s equivalent of Donald Trump; The Donald being among the biggest names operating in Atlantic City around the time the movie was shot and set. Indeed, as the future president’s Historic Atlantic City Convention Center had played host to WrestleManias IV and V, so the man with the hypnotic hair had brought many a major box-office to the East Coast. Trump would also be instrumental in bringing MMA to Atlantic City, a bold move that led to UFC hefe Dana White being among the more unlikely speakers at the 2016 Republican Convention.

As a snapshot of Atlantic City in the late 1990s, then, Snake Eyes simply can’t be beaten. It’s just a shame that budgetary restraints prevented director De Palma from closing out the movie on his own apocalyptic terms. “I wanted to finish the movie with a tidal wave,” the filmmaker explains in the must-see documentary De Palma. “I thought that given the nature of Atlantic City and what goes on there, it might be interesting just to wipe the whole place off the map. So we shot that ending but then found that the effects budget wouldn't stretch to a tsunami. Because of that, we had to settle for the more conventional ending. Pity - I would've liked to see Atlantic City in ruins.”


Posted by Geoff at 7:08 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 7:15 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink | Share This Post

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 12:57 AM CDT

Name: "harry georgatos"

I remember reading on De Palma a La Mod that Carla Gugino had seen a cut of the film with that tidal wave climax and prefered that version of the film. 

Still this is one of my favourite De Palma films up to the point of that anti-climax that finished the film on whimper. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 6:58 AM CDT

Name: "rado"
Home Page: http://rado.bg

In the official ending, the power of God is replaced by the power of media, when divine camera light exposes the character. Media is apocalyptic enough.

 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 4:17 PM CDT

Name: "Matt"

I personally prefer the ending it has, even if it feels a bit anticlimactic. The film opens with a reporter lamenting the power of the media to manipulate perception, and ends with the media actually doing its job by reporting what's really happening.

I don't really know why everyone tries to compare Snake Eyes to Rashomon. In Rashomon, several characters who are all in the same place at the same time witness the same event but come away with very different subjective recollections of what happened. That's not what happens in Snake Eyes at all. Snake Eyes features different characters objectively witnessing separate parts of a larger event, barring one account which is deliberately misleading, leading to a complete picture which none of the individual characters witnessed in total. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 9:52 PM CDT

Name: "harry georgatos"

Like De Palma said that he would have loved to have wiped out Atlantic City in a God of fury for it's greed and corruption. Everything in the film starts off with that act of God weather outside Atlantic City Casino and characters reference the storm that is brewing. Nicholas Cage on the boardwalk with Carla Gugino mentions how he was underwater in the tunnel which De Palma deleted and had me scratching my head when I first viewed this film in a cinema. 

 Every aspect from the torrential downpour and in the dialogue was leading to that act of God fury that never eventuated. It was obvious when the climax came that there was reshoots and has a jarring and obvious effect that doesn't improve on the film. That's just my subjective point of view. 

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