Dangerous Game (1993 film)

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Dangerous Game
Dangerous gamemp.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byAbel Ferrara
Produced byMary Kane
Written byNicholas St. John
Music byJoe Delia
CinematographyKen Kelsch
Edited byAnthony Redman
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • September 10, 1993 (1993-09-10) (Venice)
  • November 11, 1993 (1993-11-11) (Italy)
  • November 19, 1993 (1993-11-19) (United States)
Running time
109 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • Italy
Budget$10 million
Box office$23,671[2]

Dangerous Game (also known as Snake Eyes) is a 1993 Italian-American drama film directed by Abel Ferrara, written by Nicholas St. John, and starring Madonna, Harvey Keitel, and James Russo.


Utilizing a film-within-a-film format, the overall plot involves New York City-based director Eddie Israel directing actors Sarah Jennings and Frank Burns in a Hollywood marital-crisis drama, Mother of Mirrors, which is about a formerly wealthy but unemployed husband who berates his newly religious wife about what he considers her hypocritical aversion to their sex-and-drug lifestyle. During the shooting of that film, Israel becomes more and more demanding of his actors, growing increasingly obsessive with finding the ugly truths beneath the story's surface. All the while, his own carelessness and bad behavior with his own family begins to erode him and to corrode his marriage to Madlyn.



Dangerous Game opened in US theaters on November 19, 1993.[4] In 2007, Ferrara recalled,

Madonna killed it. The first impression people get on a movie is the one that never gets out of their mind. So after Madonna got so trashed for doing Body of Evidence, she thought she was going to beat the critics to the punch and badmouth the film. And she actually got good reviews. She never got a good review from the Voice or The New York Times in her life, but she got good reviews for this movie, which she came out and trashed. I'll never forgive her for it.[5]

This was the first production[citation needed] by Madonna's Maverick Picture Company, a division of the newly formed entertainment company Maverick.

In Japan, the film was released under the name Body II as a sequel to Madonna's other 1993 film Body of Evidence which had previously been released as Body.[citation needed] Neither film is directly connected to each other in narrative nor storyline. The video release of the film was banned in Ireland, most likely due to a violent rape scene. The cinema distributors (Abbey Films) never submitted it for an Irish theatrical release. The decision was appealed by PolyGram Filmed Entertainment – the viewing took place on 23 November, where the ban was upheld.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 31% of 16 reviews were positive, with an average rating of 4.09/10.[7]

Both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times praised Dangerous Game, with Janet Maslin of the former complimenting both Keitel and Madonna for their acting, and admiring the film's "raw, corrosive" quality: "Shot in a grainy, urgent style with occasional lapses into video, it has a fury that goes well beyond the story at hand, and an energy level that transcends the story's self-indulgence. This tough, abrasive film maker is seldom without his deadly serious side. 'Dangerous Game' is angry and painful, and the pain feels real."[4] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times found it "compelling and explosive", saying, "[I]t's a film of no-holds-barred language, passion and rage, but it's a move away from genre, more a chamber drama than action movie in which violence is more psychic than physical." He called Keitel "the ideal Ferrara star, his control, volcanic emotions and endless capacity for expressiveness and revelation matching up with those very qualities in Ferrara himself." Madonna, he said, "reveals the vulnerability as well as the strength of both the actress and the character she is playing."[8]

In a mixed review, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called Keitel "superb" and the film "a mesmerizing jigsaw", but found that "Madonna's take on an emotional crackup comes up snake eyes ... and Ferrara's Dangerous Game stops being worth the playing."[9] However, Owen Gleiberman, giving it a C- grade in Entertainment Weekly, called it "an ego-driven botch, one of those dawdlingly self-important, semi-improvised affairs about a director making a movie that turns out to be just like the one you're watching (or is it the other way around?)," but allowed that, "Madonna isn't embarrassing; she plays down the wax-goddess exhibitionism."[10]

Year-end lists[edit]


  1. ^ "DANGEROUS GAME (18)". British Board of Film Classification. March 24, 1994. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  2. ^ "Dangerous Game (1993)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 6, 2010.
  3. ^ Jones, Kent. "The Man: Who Cares?". Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (November 19, 1993). "Review/Film; A Movie Within a Movie, With a Demure Madonna". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Interview: Abel Ferrara". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. November 27, 2002. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  6. ^ Dwyer, Michael (November 23, 1994). "Madonna film is banned by the censor". The Irish Times.
  7. ^ "Dangerous Game (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  8. ^ Thomas, Kevin (March 18, 1994). "'Dangerous Game' a Raw, Compelling Morality Play". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Travers, Peter (November 19, 1993). "Dangerous Game". (review) Rolling Stone. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (December 3, 1993). "Movie Review: 'Dangerous Game (1993)". Entertainment Weekly.
  11. ^ Lovell, Glenn (December 25, 1994). "The Past Picture Show the Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- a Year Worth's of Movie Memories". San Jose Mercury News (Morning Final ed.). p. 3.

External links[edit]