Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cape Fear (1991)

Cape FearVery few thrillers stand out like Martin Scorsese's "Cape Fear." It's a terrifying ride that frightens us to the very core. It shakes you violently and paints an intense picture of revenge that is taken to a whole different level. This is a dark and brutal film that doesn't let you off easy for a single second.

Attorney Sam Bowden appears to have the perfect life upon simple examination. He has a loving wife and daughter, a very nice home, and a pretty successful and providing career. Things take a drastic turn when Max Cady is released from prison after serving a term of fourteen years. Cady was once represented by Bowden and is now looking for a little payback, as he feels that his former attorney didn't do everything he possibly could to keep him out of prison. Now, Sam must realize the present danger that is before him, as not only is his life in absolute danger--but also his family and everybody else he loves and cares for. The stakes have never been higher.

This is an absolutely disturbing film that pulls no punches. It's a very uneasy movie to watch, and yet it is so well done that it is hard NOT to watch. Robert De Niro is extremely terrifying as the vengeful "Max Cady" who is out and about, looking to settle the score. This is definitely a signature role for De Niro, as this would be one of his many roles that he will be remembered for most. Nick Nolte also gives a remarkable performance that adds a human quality to his character. The movie is well written and is perfectly executed frame by frame. It plays like a Hitchcock film on ecstasy. Martin Scorsese flawlessly directs this horrifying picture and knows what strings to pull to get a reaction from us. Be warned, this is not a movie for those who have weak stomachs or faint hearts.

The DVD does a splendid job when it comes to doing the movie the justice that it deserves. The picture quality is great--it is such a relief that I don't have to deal with the terrible laserdisc version that had the most horrendous picture quality. The sound quality is also great, and you even get the chance to watch it in DTS, if your system carries it. There are some cool extras for DVD fanatics, with extras like featurettes, deleted scenes, production notes, a theatrical trailer and more. Surely, there will be some who will want more for a film of this caliber, but the overall presentation is more than satisfactory.

"Cape Fear" is a relentless thriller that is terrifying and suspenseful. The movie has an excellent cast, a great script, and an extremely talented director behind it all. Again, the movie is very intense and isn't recommended for those who have weak hearts and don't like scenes with graphic and disturbing violence. This is definitely a classic that will always be around in the fine world of cinema. -Michael Crane

I just watched this movie for the first time in a number of years and I'd forgotten how truly great it is. I'd been waiting for the DVD to come out. Cape Fear is a movie that needs to be seen in letterbox. In the documentary, Scorsese says it was the first time he filmed anamorphic because he'd hoped that widescreen televisions would soon be coming out.

What makes the DVD great is the long "making-of" documentary on disc 2. In it, Scorsese, all the actors, and the great screenwriter Wesley Strick go into great detail of every facet of the film and how the project evolved over the years (including the notorious "thumb-sucking" scene). I've read the book "The Executioners" upon which the movie is based, and I'm familiar with the original Peck/Mitchum version and I have to say that this film is the best of the three. Don't get me wrong the original Cape Fear is a great movie and this version couldn't exist without it. However, this film is exponentially more complex and disturbing. The original story was a straightforward Good Guy/Bad Guy conflict. Nowhere was there a villain like the tattooed, Bible-quoting, Henry Miller-reading Max Cady as portrayed by DeNiro. Another especially inspired touch was to retain Bernard Herman's original score.

Whereas a zillion "psychological thrillers" have come and gone since Cape Fear came out, they have been forgotten and this remains a classic.

Buy Cape Fear (1991) Now

First of all, Martin Scorcese is one of my favorite directors and I include movies like TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL and GOODFELLAS among my most cherished films of all time. That being said, I cannot for the life of me figure why he chose to remake this 1962 classic which to me is tantamount to someone trying to remake one of his fine films mentioned above in another 10 or so years. It's almost unthinkable.

If you've never seen the original film, directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck, and you are someone who appreciates GREAT filmmaking, do yourself a favor and see the original. If you are a collector, BUY the original on DVD and add it to your collection. I PROMISE you will not be disappointed.

This 1991 version stars Robert DeNiro as Max Cady and I think he does a great job reprising and, in some none-too-subtle ways, updating on the character. Frankly I never expected less from an actor of DeNiro's abilities. But Robert Mitchum's Max Cady is truly one of the scariest and most disturbing portrayals of a villian in cinematic history. What makes Max Cady so terrifying is his believability; he is not simply an "evil rapist," this guy is a living, breathing nightmare in every sense. I think DeNiro captured a little of that quality too, but then took it too far over the top. Perhaps the only reason Mitchum never got an Oscar nod was that his performance was perhaps *too disturbing* for the times to even be considered back then, when Best Actor almost always meant the protagonist of the story.

As the editor states, comparing these two versions only proves to show how much more terror and suspense the original is able to achieve despite not being nearly as graphic or gratuitous with the on-screen violence. Especially compare the ending of the two films, where the original sizzles while the remake fizzles into a series of laughably forgettable cliches. The difference is one is a Classic from start to finish, while the other is an homage with earnest intentions and a good start that ultimately deteriorates into not much more than a gratuitously violent slasher film.

The only performance in the 1991 version I thought was intriguing and stood out from the original was Juliete Lewis as the daughter. Not necessarily better, but a more dynamic performance for that character. But if you really want to see a classic thriller that is a cut above the average from beginning to end, check out the original and you be the judge.

Read Best Reviews of Cape Fear (1991) Here

Please describe the audio/video quality of any Blu-Ray you review. Thanks to those who do this.

The video quality was great. I didn't see any grain, except for the movie in the movie theater. I give it a 9.2 on a 10.0 scale.

The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio was also great.

The movie was about 2 hours long. The aspect ratio was 2.35:1.

Want Cape Fear (1991) Discount?

This movie is yet another powerhouse brought to movie-lovers by none other than director Marty Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro. YAY!!! I love these guys!!

The film is about a newly released con named Max Cady(De Niro) who ventures out into the world he's been out of for 14 years with one mission in mind: to make his ex-lawyer, Sam Bowden(Nick Nolte) and his family pay. Ya see, our fearless, law-obiding lawyer here purposely withheld evidence during Cady's trial that would've set him free. Sam broke the law to remove a rapist from society.

Cady went in the bighouse just an illiterate man from Atlanta, but came out a sociopathic avenging angel complete with Biblical expressions tattooed on his skin. He also learned to read and read everything from philosophy to law books. He plans his reckoning the day of his release.

Sam, unbeknownst to Cady's release, is dealing with dilemmas of his own. He still lives with the guilt of Cady's trial along with suspicions of unfaithful actions from his wife, Leigh.(Jessica Lange)He also must contend with the fact that his teenage, MTV-oriented daughter, Danielle (Juliette Lewis) was recently expelled from school for smoking marijuana. As you can see, the Bowden family is anything BUT functional. So it's that withering stability that provides more fuel to Max's scorching fire.

Max deals with each member of the Bowden family individually. He confronts Sam, promising that he's gonna learn about loss. He has a moment with Leigh when she retrieves her mail, and then tries to manipulate Danielle in her school's drama pit. Max even roughs up Sam's "mistress," Lori. All of these encounters come together in one last stormy show-down on Cape Fear.

De Niro is very show-y in this film with his elaborate tattoos, Southern accent, long hair and muscular body. It's a twist of the old cliche that evil is always grotesque. That's hardly so for De Niro's characterization of Maximillian Cady. His actions ARE grotesque and disturbing, but not his appeal. He's attractive man...who just happens to be evil.He's just fun to watch, from beginning to end. Marty couldn't have found anyone else to do it better.

Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, and Juliette Lewis give awesome performances, too. I applauded Juliette Lewis the most though. She really carried her own weight for this film. Gotta give her a lotta kudos for that...especially for the 9-minute drama-pit sequence. Whoa!

Martin Scorsese's direction and Thelma Schoonmaker's fantastic editing make this movie even more worthwhile. It's genius!

Save 38% Off

No comments:

Post a Comment