This is a finely-crafted, unique parody of film noir that remains true to the old genre while adding a subtle layer of campy exaggeration to certain aspects. The dark scenes are blacker than noir, and the dialog is riper than pulp fiction. Cage's character is original, and his calculated over-acting is as fine a parody as I have ever seen. He obviously put some thought into this role, and did a far better job than most of his work requires. The obligatory intrigue is masterfully done, the dramatic cinematography is magnificent, the musical score is straight out of history, and the plot has more twists than my grandma's pretzels. The crew must have had a ball making this film, as anyone would who had an exposure to film history. And... it's a great movie in its own right. Well-acted, well-produced, and well edited... enjoyable on so many levels.