Concept movies are rarely as galvanizing as this deliberately disorienting 1993 movie-within-a-movie. Some scenes seem improvised or even documentary, some are impossible to relegate to a single level of fictional reality. Yet there's a clear story line, in which Harvey Keitel plays movie director Eddie Israel and Madonna plays Sarah Jennings, a celebrity recommended for a lead role in his latest production by her on- and offscreen allure, star status in another medium, and capital. Much of the movie Israel's making (as well as the one we're watching) exposes Madonna/Jennings to emotional and physical intrusions that are engineered by Keitel/Israel, though ultimately director Abel Ferrara calls the shots. This grueling, multifaceted drama about (and by) a filmmaker whose MO includes severely testing the sanity and loyalty of his actors complicates the significance of the casting of Madonna—who also produced—even if you believe a woman's complicity in her own exploitation is a feminist gesture. Written by Nicholas St. John; with James Russo and Nancy Ferrara. Also known as Snake Eyes. 112 min.
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