Saturday, May 11, 2019

Cape Fear

Movie Name: Cape Fear
Year of Release: 1991
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Joe Don Baker, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Illeana Douglas, Martin Balsam, Fred Dalton Thompson, Zully Montero
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Following the formidable "Goodfellas", director Martin Scorsese tackled his first remake at the time, "Cape Fear". Originally directed by J. Lee Thompson in 1962, and adapted from a novel by John D. MacDonald, the film follows the story of the Bowden family. Father Sam is an attorney, while mother Leigh is a designer and daughter Danielle is still in high school. Their seemingly placid existence is thrown into disarray when recently freed convict Max Cady comes into town. Cady starts stalking the family, until his intentions are made clear. He was a former client of Sam's, and was convicted for sexual assault, however, there were further information on the case that could have given him a lighter sentence, something Sam chose not to divulge. Cady during his time in prison, got a degree, and uncovered issues in how his case got handled, and once he's out, he sets his sights on making Sam's life as miserable as possible.
Director Martin Scorsese followed a brilliant film with yet another phenomenal and virtuosic feature. Though "Cape Fear" inhabits different terrains than "Goodfellas", it's a film that has become a staple (and a classic) for its depiction of a relentless criminal, who will stop at nothing to get his revenge. Max Cady's obsession knows no bounds, no limits, and is all consuming, something that the film illustrates brilliantly. Scorsese manages to perfectly balance Cady's pursuit by showcasing the disintegration of the Bowden's existence, with their seemingly idyllic life shattering, not solely due to Cady's emergence, but also due to marital issues existing between Leigh and Sam (and some of his indiscretions). It's a film with a fantastic cast, with highlights going obviously to the fantastic Robert De Niro, but also Juliette Lewis, who managed to impress tremendously as the young Danielle. It's a film that manages to build a perfectly timed suspense and tension, as the clash between the central characters becomes inevitable, and how the games between the characters are orchestrated. It's also a testament to Scorsese's perfect stylistic approach, something that can be witnessed in the impeccable editing work from Thelma Schoonmaker, cinematographer Freddie Francis and score from Elmer Bernstein. A fantastic film always worth revisiting, from a truly phenomenal director.