Cage's portrayal of a private eye, hired by the rich old widow in town, searching for a girl shown in a 'snuff' film was very disturbing. Cage is one of those actors that gives a gritty edge to his characters .... sometimes he is a nice guy sometimes he isn't but he is always edgy.
His interaction with Max California, played by Joaquin Phoenix, made for a good story line ... Max the ornery dirty bookstore cashier with an insight to the underbelly of the porn world kind of reminds you of the Joe Pesci character in the Lethal Weapon series. He helps Cage search for the girl that shows up on the snuff film, finally locating the film's director and arranging a meeting with him, which of course you know will be a disaster.
Cage's interview with the girl's mother, she's a little lonely and .. um, needy, is just a tad bit sad and slightly scary (to say nothing of that bathroom!). Because of the feelings he has for his own wife and child he has this ache and need, and wants to let her know what happened to her daughter but also doesn't want to hurt her.
Unfortunately, in the end Cage has to step over the line, I guess you thought he might just the leave the guy in the warehouse and not do anything to him, and seeks his revenge for the girls death.
I liked and did not like this movie. I didn't like that peek into the underworld of porn. You know it is there but do you really want to see it? I liked the acting, their deliverance of their characters. Cage is a good actor, have always enjoyed his flicks, he tends to generally turn into the truly evil guy or the truly good guy.
I thought the character of 'Machine' was an eerie guy. Of course, that is how most of those guys are, they don't do it for any other reason than because they want to.
In all, this was a disturbing movie because you realize these things really do happen every day.
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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Nicholas Cage plays Tom Welles, a straight-laced surveillance specialist. His innocent, naive world begins to unravel when he is hired by the widow of an industrialist to investigate what she has shockingly discovered in her late husband's safe. It appears to be a snuff film of a young girl being murdered. In order to discover the truth, he must enter the city's seedy underworld, guided by porn-store clerk Max California (Joaquim Phoenix, LADDER 49).