Snake Eyes

Defenders of Brian De Palma's less interesting movies like to argue that the director's visual flair makes the stories virtually irrelevant. And this boring 1998 thriller—about an Atlantic City detective who butts heads with an old friend in the Defense Department while investigating an assassination—almost seems to punish viewers who get too caught up in plot or characterization. But because the now-trendy elements in De Palma's arsenal can't be very provocative when they're anticipated, the movie never manages to do more than exploit the narrative conventions it's calling attention to. An ironic side effect of De Palma's signature style here is that the tour de force camera work and production design become nearly as tiresome as those dramatic cliches. Written by David Koepp; with Nicolas Cage and Gary Sinise.

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