Nicolas Cage and Joel Schumacher are match made in heaven, or possibly the other place. Both are capable of thoughtful and effective work, but have a tendency for going to the extremes which can lead to critical maulings.
Their sole collaboration was 8mm, and it is essentially exactly what you’d expect: a murky, often gross exploration of snuff films, with Cage a combustible private investigator at the dark heart of an unfurling mystery.
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker, of Seven fame, this is an exercise in depravity, but with a solid moral core in the form of Cage. He plays a resolutely decent man, who refuses to let himself get dragged down too deep into the murk, and yet can’t tear himself away from the mystery.
With support from Joaquin Phoenix and James Gandolfini, 8mm boasts one of the best casts Schumacher has had at his disposal, and he utilises them well. It can be an off putting film for some due to the extent to which the director dwells in its horrid subject, but it’s not exploitative - there’s a method to his muck.