8MM (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

8MM (1999)



Critic Consensus: Its sadistic violence is unappealing and is lacking in suspense and mystery.

Movie Info

Tom Welles is a surveillance specialist-what used to be known as a "private eye"-but his version of the profession is hardly the stuff of which legends are made. He has a modest, home-based practice in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he lives an existence remarkable only for its normalcy with wife Amy and baby daughter, Cindy. Respected but still waiting for a big break that will improve his professional status, Welles spends most of his time on routine cases involving unfaithful spouses and the like. Nothing too dangerous, nor too threatening... until a small, innocuous-looking plastic reel of film turns Welles' life upside down, sending him down a sordid and terrifying path into society's darkest corners. From the lurid sidewalks of L.A.'s Hollywood Boulevard to the squalor of New York City's meat-packing district, Eight Millimeter follows Welles as he relentlessly pursues a bizarre trail of graphic and disturbing evidence to determine the fate of a complete stranger-a girl who begins to haunt his imagination and conscience. Aided in his obsession by a streetwise adult bookstore clerk, Max (Joaquin Phoenix), Welles drifts away from his wife, family and former life. What Welles learns is beyond his worst nightmares, as he comes to realize how deadly a small reel of eight millimeter film can be.more
Rating: R (for strong perverse sexuality and violence, and for strong language)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Andrew Kevin Walker
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 22, 2001
Columbia Pictures - Official Site


Nicolas Cage
as Tom Welles
Joaquin Phoenix
as Max California
James Gandolfini
as Eddie Poole
Peter Stormare
as Dino Velvet
Anthony Heald
as Longdale
Chris Bauer
as Machine
Catherine Keener
as Amy Welles
Myra Carter
as Mrs. Christian
Amy Morton
as Janet Mathews
Jenny Powell
as Mary Ann Mathews
Jack Betts
as Butler
Luis Oropeza
as Archive Director
Rachel Singer
as Neighbor
Don Creech
as Mr. Anderson
Norman Reedus
as Warren Anderson
John Robb
as Porn Dealer
Devan Brown
as Flea Market Woman
Doris Brent
as Machine's Mother
Robert Amico
as Casting Director
Kiva Dawson
as Girl in Hall
Eva Minemar
as Girl in Hall
Rachel Dara Wolfe
as Girl in Hall
Suzy Nakamura
as Computer Wizard
Tahitia Dean
as Hollywood Prostitute
Terri Laird
as Dino's Redhead
Emily Patrick
as Porn Girl
Nancy Lynn Vaughn
as Porno Make-up Artist
Lisa Vanasco
as Topless Ticket Taker
Bridgett Vera
as Ticket Taker
Jennifer Harris
as Strip Club Dancer
Burton Richards
as Strip Club Dancer
Jovanna Vitiello
as Strip Club Dancer
David U. Hodges
as Surveillance Man
Lorena Martinez
as Prostitute
William N. Buck
as Mr. Christian
Kerry Corcoran
as Cheating Son-in-Law
Claudia Aros
as Miami Girlfriend
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for 8MM

Critic Reviews for 8MM

All Critics (82) | Top Critics (22)

I can't say I warmed to the results, but I was solidly held for the film's two hours.

Full Review… | September 17, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A movie that keeps jumping the gate and finally unravels all over the floor.

Full Review… | July 22, 2008
Top Critic

Director Joel Schumacher aims for a psychological depth that the script can't sustain.

November 24, 2006
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

There's no faulting Cage's committed, intense performance, but his slide from professional, internalised concern into personal, self-righteous rage still leaves a nasty aftertaste.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Want to know what happens when an A-list director and A-list movie star attach themselves to a direct-to-cable screenplay? This.

Full Review… | July 21, 2005
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

An exploitation movie about an exploitation movie.

Full Review… | August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for 8MM


While I think the critics' reception was quite harsh, '8mm' does indeed miss the mark of being a good film. There are moments of tension, but these moments are brief and sparse. So much of it feels rehashed, the film borrows too many elements from films such as 'Seven' and 'The Silence of the Lambs', it's a kitsch piece of cinema.

Cage gives a good performance, as does the whole cast. The problem lies in the narrative. It begins moderately well, however it starts to plod along as Cage's character begins to hone in on the shady suspects. Towards the final stages of the film, there are violent altercations between the characters which often become drawn out through repeated reversals of fortune, it sucks all the energy out of the film; it's all quite run-of-the-mill and unconvincing.

It's not as terrible as some have said, it has some good moments, but it is a generic and forgettable film that's spoilt by a hackneyed ending. It's good for killing time, no more than that.

Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins

Super Reviewer

You are never prepared for the truth.

Good movie. This film is very strong,gritty,edgy and dark. Nicolas Cage did a very good job acting on this one. The thing is this film is very real and there's actually people so sick like this in the world we live in, it's disturbing to know this and those who do those kinds of things shall receive no forgiveness.

Tom Welles, private eye, is hired by a wealthy widow, whose well-known husband passed away recently. She has found a reel of S8-film in a safe. On the film is a cruel slaughtering of a young girl, who obviously does not pretend or act: A snuff-movie. Welles takes up investigation, which leads him to the girl's mother and from there to Hollywood, into the office of a porn flick producer. Welles' rising obsession to solve the case also carries him away from his wife and new-born daughter. But when finally names are at hand, Welles suddenly finds himself on ice much thinner than he planned.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


Private investigator Nic Cage is hired by some old rich dame to check out a curious video found in the dead husband's safe. With some moments of interest this attempt to update the gumshoe cliche gets lost in its own over-reaching for social relevance. And Cat Keener is totally wasted.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

8MM Quotes

– Submitted by Nick S (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Jesse K (2 years ago)

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