Now first I'd like to take a moment to say that the films subject matter and therefore this review is not for the faint of heart and spoiler alert.
8mm is a Neo-noir about a private detective and family man named Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) who is hired by a wealthy recent widow to find out if an apparent snuff film that her husband owned was real (It is) to sooth her worries about the girl in the film.
Now of note is that you never actually see the murder. You only see Tom Welles' reaction to it
and to be honest, I personally think it was done that way because it makes you imagine the most horrible thing you can. The detective keeps going down the trail the evidence leads him, the mother of the victim, the young man who works as a clerk at an adult toy shop but is obviously too smart for it to be anything but a waste of talent and eventually the people who made the film.
Now at that point, after seeing all the devastation not only the murder has done to its victims but the toll it takes on the Detective. Throughout the film the detective and therefore the audience is confronted with evil.
This really hits home twice, first when Tom asks one of the people involved with the snuff film, why make a movie of an actual murder and receives an answer thats both unsatisfactory yet undoubtedly true, 'because he could'. and to anyone who doesn't think Nicolas Cage can act, his reaction to this should convince you otherwise. Its not the over-exaggerated anger of some of his work, but a believable anger. The other scene where he receives his answer as to why, comes at the end, where he confronts the person who did the deed, the answer he receives is this, 'I wasn't beaten. I wasn't molested.Mommy didn't abuse me. Daddy never raped me. I'm only what I am. And that's all there is to it! There's no mystery. Things I do, I do them because I like them! Because I want to!'
The point of 8mm is that there are people in this world who are just evil. They don't have a tragic past, they don't care who they hurt, they commit utterly horrific acts on innocent people, and they do them for no other reasons than they can and or they liked and wanted to. Its a very disturbing movie but its also a rather good movie.
I give it two thumbs up.