Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Cape Fear


Cape Fear; Thriller, USA, 1991; D: Martin Scorsese, S: Nick Nolte, Robert De Niro, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Joe Don Baker, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck

Max Caddy spent 14 years in prison for raping a girl. After release, he seeks to take revenge on his lawyer Sam who withheld crucial evidence on his trial for moral reasons. Sam is married with Leigh and has a 15-year old daughter, Danielle, so he understandably isn't very happy to meet Max every day who quotes psalms from the Bible. Sam's dog gets poisoned and his friend beaten up by someone, but he is too afraid to testify against Max. When Max flirts with Danielle, Sam hires three thugs to beat him up, but Max beats them up. The family escapes to the South, to Cape Fear, but Max follows them. On a boat, Sam kills Max and sinks the ship.

Suspenseful, electrifying and stimulative thriller "Cape Fear" is a remake of the classic '62 film with the same title, where actors Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck also starred in (here they play an investigator and a lawyer). Remakes are usually just legalised plagiarism, but in this case director Martin Scorsese managed to give enough reasons in this 1991 version of "Cape Fear" to justify it's existence, giving it original ideas and modern methods used to craft a nightmare about revenge. Scorsese added a great dose of visual style, like the scene of negative photography or tilting the camera backwards. Robert De Niro noticeably changed his physique in order to play a psychopathic stalker, Max - on his back he has a grotesque tattoo of a cross shaped like a justice scale, while he also carries a lighter shaped like a woman in a bikini in his pocket - and his menacing threat becomes scarier and scarier by the minute, even though it turns over-the-top a lot, especially in the unconvincing scene where three strong thugs are about to beat him up but he beats them up instead or when he clinches under Sam's car (!) who drives the whole day with his family to the South. Still, the fierce cat and mouse game creates a great noir mood whose intensity grows until the climax. Excellent De Niro and Juliette Lewis were nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

Grade:+++

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