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Camera Obscura (2003) - Taking it Personally: Male Suffering in "8mm"




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.