- article: Taking it Personally: Male Suffering in "8MM"
- author(s): Pat Gill
- journal: Camera Obscura (01/Jan/2003)
- issue: volume 18, issue 1, pages 156-187
- journal ISSN: 0270-5346
- publisher: Duke University Press
- keywords: 8MM, Alfred Hitchcock, Amy Lawrence, Cary Grant, Character, Ethical issues, Feature films, Film (International), Film (Productions), Film criticism, Frank Krutnik, Frenzy (1972), Freudian Theory, Hitchcock's America (1999) edited by Jonathan Freedman & Richard H. Millington, Ingrid Bergman, James Stewart, Joel Schumacher, Jonathan Freedman, Linda Williams, London, England, Marlene Dietrich, Martin Scorsese, Men, Michael Powell, New York City, New York, Nicolas Cage, Notorious (1946), Pain, Paul Thomas, Richard H. Millington, Rope (1948), Tania Modleski, The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Theory (2005) by Tania Modleski, Violence
Nicolas Cage's character in "8MM," the beleaguered private detective Tom Welles, is the initial center of moral authority in the film, but crosses the line to become a vigilante. His suffering is rewarded neither by moral satisfaction, masculine self-validation, nor a respite from guilt. Although the movie does not condemn his violent solutions, his behavior is depicted both as psychologically more complex and as ethically more disturbing than that of most other cinematic vigilantes. Welles suffers outrage and pain by proxy. Freud's concept of moral masochism is explored in relation to the movie.