Flippantly derided upon its initial release as an indulgent failure, Abel Ferrara’s Dangerous Game (aka Snake Eyes) is the director’s most overtly Godard-ian effort, an examination of filmmaking and family – and their intrinsic relationship – that self-consciously revels in ambiguity, contradiction and artifice. It’s also, one might add, one of his most rewardingly challenging works. Eddie Israel (Harvey Keitel) leaves his comfortable (but latently tense) NYC domestic confines for L.A., where he’s directing Mother of Mirrors, a movie starring TV actress Sarah Jennings (Madonna) and method thespian Francis Burns (James Russo) about a woman who, after finding God, rejects the hedonistic lifestyle she created with her husband. The contentious on-screen action and difficult behind-the-scenes rapport shared by the two actors parallels the disintegration of Israel’s marriage. Ferrara, however, disallows any tidy 1+1=2 equations from developing, his film an irreconcilably tangled web of reality and make-believe in which any given moment could be part of a fictional Dangerous Game scene, a non-fiction portrait of the making of Dangerous Game, or a scene from Mother of Mirrors. If inferior to Keitel’s magnetic portrait of artistic honesty-run-amok, Madonna’s uneven performance is nonetheless more tolerable than Russo’s “actorly” turn. Unsurprisingly, though, the film’s true star is Ferrara himself, who mines emotional landmine-laden terrain through both intimately scuzzy violence and canny manipulations of perspective.