Winning The Lottery With Nicolas Cage #33
Twice a week I break the relentless monotony of staring at the wall searching for meaning in the paintwork by watching a Nicolas Cage film, then playing the UK’s National Lottery. If anyone ever finds out why I’m really doing this there will probably be trouble.
Snake Eyes (1998)
Snake Eyes is not a film about snakes, eyes, or even Snake Eyes, which is a thing where you roll a double 1on a dice in gambling because gamblers have never seen a snake and think that’s what their eyes look like. Snake Eyes is actually a film about a US Defence Secretary getting assassinated at a boxing match during a hurricane for some reason, which I guess someone had to make a film about eventually.
Bent copper Rick Santoro (Nic Cage) happens to be on the scene, and decides for once to do his actual job and find out whodunnit — possibly to impress his childhood friend, a Naval commander who’s been working with the secretary (Gary Sinise). But NOTHING is as it SEEMS.
The actual substance of Snake Eyes is pretty thin, a sort of conspiracy thriller jelly. But because Brian DePalma’s directing it, it has a hell of a lot of style. Most notably the literally non-stop opening — a single 15-minute long shot (well, it looks like a single shot — there’s some trickery going on), and a neat effect where the camera pans over a row of hotel rooms, showing us the inhabitants from above. The film ticks along and there’s certainly something in the redemptive character arc for Cage’s character (especially contrasted with what happens to Sinise). As the chameleonic Detective Santoro, Cage gets to do a little bit of everything here, effortlessly switching from goofing around on live TV to aggressively shaking down bookies to straight-laced just-doing-his-job cop.
It’s odd — as a whole, I don’t know that I’d call Snake Eyes very good. It’s got lots of fun things in it, and it’s almost never quite what you’re expecting. But it’s all dressing up a fundamentally quite boring story about a dodgy arms deal. Maybe there’s a good gambling metaphor to describe this: It doesn’t matter how many good hands you play if your table is wobbly? You can roll a 1-sided dice as many times as you like? Never double down on a pontoon? Please send me better gambling metaphors my family is dying.
2 — As I said, Snake Eyes is when you roll a double 1 with a pair of dice, to get a 2. I don’t think it looks like snake eyes. Mind you I’ve only seen a snake up close once years ago when a lady brought one into my infants’ school to show us what a snake looked like. I expect they don’t allow that now because of the EU.
4 — At one point someone’s watching a horse race and the horse that is winning is no. 4. It’s called Daddy’s Hobby. I bet.
7 — During the seventh round of the boxing match, Santoro notes that number 7 is his lucky number. According to the internet, 7 is Nicolas Cage’s lucky number in real life! Why not make it your lucky number, by sharing this post with 7 of your friends!
14 — It is said that the assassination had 14,000 eyewitnesses, because of taking place at a boxing match.
35 — When Costello persuades some rando horndog to take her back to his room, they get out of the lift on floor 35.
51 — MG31551 is the registration of the police van that saves Santoro and Costello at the end of the film.
2 numbers! And this time I actually remembered to buy the ticket! I guess the Snake Eyes are on me!
Well, I get a free lucky dip ticket, at least. This is more like it. BACK IN THE GAME!
NEXT TIME ON NICOLAS CAGE:
8mm, which I assume is about drill bits.
Apparently Medium makes it quite hard to find previous instalments of this so I have made a sort of index thing, here.