Sunday, 2 September 2012

Cape Fear

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Year:1991
Country of origin:USA
Director:Martin Scorsese
Genre:Overblown remake
Starring:Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Juliette Lewis, Jessica Lange
Rating:3/5
IMDB link:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101540/
Tagline:There is nothing in the dark that isn't there in the light. Except fear.
Favourite line:"You're scared. But that's Ok. I want you to savor that fear."

Scorsese’s remake of the highly regarded J. Lee Thompson original.

The plot:
Sam Bowden, a defence attorney, is a man trapped in a loveless marriage, seeking affection from co-workers.
Max Cady is a beater of women and raper of children who, fourteen years previously, had Bowden as his lawyer.
Now released, Cady seems convinced that Bowden did not do all that he could to keep him out of prison.
With fourteen years to consider his actions upon release, Cady is a driven man, eager to seek revenge for the perceived injustice.
And what better way to start than with Bowden’s fifteen year old daughter?

The original garnered some controversy upon release, the idea that a child could be a potential victim of a sexual attack one never previously explored in mainstream cinema.
Here, Scorsese decides to remake the original and retain the feel – I confess at this point that I have never seen the original, so this judgement is based on reading from other sources – and it is something of a folly.
Though not directed by Hitchcock, the original movie is regarded as ‘Hitchcockian’ in style and tone, an interpretation only enhanced as the rambunctious score was composed by one Bernard Herrmann, the composer responsible for Hitchcock’s own Vertigo, North By Northwest and, of course, Psycho.
Here, Scorsese chooses to ask Herrmann to score once more, with inevitable overwrought consequences.
Indeed, at times, the musical composition renders this near unwatchable, and scenes that should be imbued with genuine dread and menace become almost comical. There’s a reason sounds change: it’s so they don’t become amusing clich├ęs and, unfortunately, that is the case here.
Further, Scorsese chooses to adopt camera angles reminiscent of the era of the original – some shot for shot, apparently – and, whilst impressive in 1962, now they just seem silly. Then we talk about the cast.
Nick Nolte is Nick Nolte He’s the same in everything. You either like him or you don’t. Me? I ain’t that fussed by him.
De Niro is odd. To begin with, his character is irritating, a caricature, hard to take seriously but, as the movie builds momentum and the nastiness goes up a notch, he seems to fall in line well enough.
Stand out, though, is Juliette Lewis, as fifteen year old Danielle. Although twenty at the time, she still manages to imbue the performance with a sense of naivety and girlish innocence, and quite rightly received a Best Supporting Actress nomination. Scientologist now. Feels like we’ve lost one of our own.
Next complaint: the decision making.
The family, pursued by a madman, hell-bent on their destruction, decide the best place to hide is on a boat, in the middle of nowhere, smack in the middle of a region called Cape Fear.
Hmmmm….. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
Overwrought, overblown, overlong and overly silly – the last twenty minutes smacks more of Friday the 13th than anything genuinely plausible – this is far from Scorsese’s finest hour, though still manages a moment or two to justify a view.
Confused by the review?
Seems like I hate it, but still don’t really pan it with the score.
You’ll be more confused by the movie itself, I assure you.

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