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(Review originally written at 10 February 2008)

The movie began quite well. OK, it was nothing too impressive but it seemed to be a good thriller and mystery movie, focusing on the underground really heavy hardcore porn industry. The movie however loses much of its credibility in parts, especially toward the ending of it.

In the end the movie even manages to change into a revenge flick, which is highly in contrast with the rest of the picture. The rest of the movie mostly picks a realistic approach of things. It provides the viewer a look into the dark world of underground porn and whether it's a realistic authentic view of it or not, the way its shown in the movie works out effectively, mostly because the movie doesn't hold back as much as most other Hollywood movies regarding this subject will do. The ending just doesn't really work out convincing because it raises the question about the Nicolas Cage character; Why does he get personally involved with the case so much? There are several hints given throughout the movie that from the moment you'll enter they world of underground porn it will change you slowly. But there's a difference between saying this several times throughout the movie (mostly by the Joaquin Phoenix character) and actually showing how it affects someone. The movie really doesn't handle this well since it simply doesn't really show any of this. It's just so highly unbelievable all. Elements like this once more show that Joel Schumacher is no more than a very average director, though he still of course made some good movies as well.

A shame all, since in the beginning of the movie when all the detective work got done, this seemed to be a pretty decent movie with potential. It's not like the movie is no a total bad one to watch but it's just that the movie could had been a lot better.

Unfortunately the whole way the story is build up and being told is also quite predictable. At least to me this movie offered very little surprises in its storytelling and 'plot-twists'.

The movie has a surprising good cast. Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare and Anthony Heald are all big names in the business and they all appear in this movie. Definitely true that the presence of these people also helps to make this a better movie to watch than it would had been without them in it.

Oh well, it still is a decent enough movie to watch, at least if your expectations aren't too high.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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