A small, seemingly innocuous plastic reel of film leads surveillance specialist Tom Welles down an increasingly dark and frightening path. With the help of the streetwise Max, he relentlessly follows a bizarre trail of evidence to determine the fate of a complete stranger. As his work turns into obsession, he drifts farther and farther away from his wife, family and simple life as a small-town PI.
Rated R for strong perverse sexuality and violence, and for strong language.
Sex & Nudity
Sex & Nudity Reason
A dildo and handcuffs are seen in a drawer.
**The plot of the movie involves a private investigator authenticating a possible snuff film - There are strong references to the pornography and the act of masturbation, and there are multiple scenes depicting topless women as well as both male and female rear views and full frontals**
A man walks through a red-light district, there are many scantily clad women, some topless and some in thongs. Books, videos, magazines related to the sex trade are seen. A man is seen asking for the most hardcore porn available.
There is one scene of full-frontal nudity: We see a nude man and woman, and distinctly see her nude front and the man's genitalia; they proceed to lie down on a bed, presumably ready to be taped for a pornographic film.
We briefly see a man and woman moving underneath a blanket; we see his bare chest when he gets out of the bed.
We see a video clip of a bare-breasted woman inserting something into a man's anus.
We hear moaning coming from booths (it's implied that people are in the booths watching pornographic movies), and we see the back of a clothed man who appears to be masturbating while watching a pornographic movie.
A woman kneels in front of man; he unzips his pants and then closes the blinds so we don't see anything else.
We see a bare-breasted woman dancing and we briefly see another bare-breasted woman on a video clip.
A few scenes take place in sex shops; we see some sexual toys and lots of magazine and video covers showing scantily clad or nude women.
We see lots of scantily clad women and lots of men and women wearing revealing leather sadomasochistic outfits.
Violence & Gore
Violence & Gore Reason
Throughout the movie, we see clips of a snuff film in which a girl wearing a tank top and underwear is slapped and then stabbed repeatedly by a man wearing a leather S&M outfit and mask.
In a few other films, we see a man's bare butt being slapped by two women in leather outfits, a bound and gagged woman being hit by a leather-clad man, a woman being choked to death and a woman hanging by her arms being slapped, punched and then stabbed repeatedly by two shirtless men (we see lots of blood on her body).
A man is sliced with a knife (we see some blood).
A man is stabbed (we see a knife handle sticking out of his chest) and another is stabbed with what looks like a long skewer (we later see him pulling it out of his bloody stomach).
A man ties another's neck and hands to a post, and it's implied that the man beats him to death with the butt of his gun (we hear the man being hit and later see the bloody gun and the man's bloody body).
A man with tape over his mouth and blood on his face is tied to an archery target; we later see his dead, bloody body hanging from it.
A man pours gasoline on a corpse and sets it on fire.
Lots of threatening with guns and knives; a man shoots at another several times.
A man is shot in the chest with a cross bow and another is shot in the neck (we see lots of blood pouring from the wound).
Twice, a man is handcuffed to a bed and beaten (we see bloody cuts on his face); we also see a few scuffles and several men being punched, kicked and knocked down (often we see bloody cuts on their faces afterwards).
Two men scuffle and fall out of a window.
Max (Joaquin Phoenix) is seen taped and gets tied on an archery target ring. He is shown with some blood on his face down to his vest. He gets his neck slit by a man in a gimp mask. (If you look carefully at his neck, there is no bloody cut made and no blood pours out making that shot to be a mistake).
Tom gets handcuffed to a bed and is interrogated.
**The film deals with underground hardcore pornography including bondage and S&M, there are clips of snuff films shown. The film also shows more grimy elements that are distressing.**
53 uses of "fuck", 4 uses of "bitch", 4 "pussy", and 13 "shit" by unsavory characters.
Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking Reason
Contains scenes of smoking cocaine and the appearance of marijuana.
The hero (Nicolas Cage) smokes throughout the movie along with other characters
There is some cocaine use.
Frightening & Intense Scenes
Frightening & Intense Scenes Reason
The film deals with the investigation of a snuff film.
Tom reveals to the missing daughter's mother that her daughter is actually dead and the snuff film is real and not fake.