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on March 16, 2003
Robert DeNiro gives an outstanding performance as an ex-convict who is released and is on the hunt for the lawyer who convicted him, and in the process, he wreaks havoc wherever he goes. Of interesting note is a rather chilling scene in a bar when DeNiro's character strikes up an acquaintance with a girl who jokes around with him, and as the laughter heats, DeNiro chuckles that he just got out of jail (laughter), and that he did time for rape (more laughter). Of course the girl doesn't take him seriously until she becomes his next victim, and it's on to look for the lawyer (Nolte).
All in all, this has to be one of the most profoundly disturbing movies I've ever seen, and I've been in the criminal justice area for over 20 years. The mere mention of the movie causes me to twinge, and although I don't know what DeNiro had to do to research this role, but he's highly believable in the role.
There are some ... suggestive scenes, and the language is a little crude in spots, but I suggest caution in viewing, and in particular, that the young ones don't get an eyeful of this one. It's brutal in its depiction, and it's cautiously recommended - for the strong of heart.
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on March 3, 2004
Very 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
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on October 19, 2003
Robert De Niro's best performance is his terrifying portrayal of vicious psycho Max Cady, hell-bent on vengeance on his lawyer, Sam Bowden (played by Nick Nolte) who didn't defend him as well as he should of during a rape case. De Niro is clearly playing the part with as much relish as possible. His Southern accent, chilling laugh, Biblical tattoos, and the violent actions he brings to screen make him one of the most memorable villains in cinema. Not only that, but he is a believable one too, not too over-the-top. He's insane near the end, yes, but he is realistic. Nick Nolte gives a fairly good performance to Sam Bowden, Jessica Lange is good as Leigh, and Juliette Lewis gives a remarkable performance as Danielle Bowden, the emotionally-tortured teenage daughter of Sam and Leigh. The way the film uses seduction and betrayal as major themes is a key element. Director Martin Scorsese gives this film a classic horror feeling, paying special homage to the 1962 original by having Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, and Martin Balsam (all in the original) play cameo roles in this box-office remake. Not to mention, Scorsese wisely chose the same eerie score from the original film. This is a wonderful film, and it is horrifying. There is some graphic violence that is quite disturbing (particularly the scene in which Cady mutilates a woman in her apartment), but if that doesn't bother you, than you'll love this film. If you enjoy clever, intellectual psychological thrillers with LOTS of suspense, you'll love "Cape Fear".
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on August 16, 2003
...then you'll find much to love about Martin Scorsese's remake of film noir classic CAPE FEAR. There are some superb performances here, from a clearly-enjoying-himself Robert De Niro, whose terrifying portrayal of Max Cady remains a career high point, to Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis (in her breakout performance), Illeana Douglas, Joe Don Baker (having fun in every scene), Sen. Fred Thompson, and the wonderful trio of Robert Mitchum, Martin Balsam and Gregory Peck (all of whom appeared in the 1962 original).
But beyond great acting, Scorsese assembled some of the greatest talents of 20th century moviemaking to aid him on this picture. Rather than try to top Bernard Herrman's original score (and who could? it's one of the scariest pieces of movie music in history!), Scorsese asked the great Elmer Bernstein to adapt and embellish, and the result is brilliant. His cinematographer is the legendary British director Freddie Francis, who helmed so many blood-curdling Hammer horror flicks in the Sixties and Seventies, and more recently known for his gorgeous cinematography on David Lynch's THE ELEPHANT MAN and THE STRAIGHT STORY. And as usual, Scorsese employs Thelma Schoonmaker (the "editor's editor") with him in post-production, telling the story flawlessly.
Working from a ghoulish, morbidly funny script from Wesley Strick, Scorsese turns CAPE FEAR into a widescreen, Technicolor-hued tribute to early '60s melodramas, but adds a much darker sense of danger and suspense. De Niro's wronged convict comes after Nolte's family with a righteously Biblical cause of revenge and retribution, and proceeds to tear what little semblance of civility the family had for each other into shreds. CAPE FEAR is not a feel-good picture by any means, but it certainly is a wild ride, and a visceral experience provided by masters of the form. Recommended for fans of Alfred Hitchcock, Sergio Leone, and Sam Peckinpah.
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on March 11, 2003
Martin Scorsese remade a very good movie and made it into a dark, ugly film. They say this was just an updated version of the original but to think that every person in this movie is not just flawed but so unlikeable that you really don't care if they make it or not.
Nick Nolte play's Sam Bowden a lawyer who is cheating on his wife and seems to care nothing for his family. Jessica Lang is Bowdens wife. You really never get the feeling that her and Nolte really care for each other even if they are married. Julliette Lewis plays the daughter. She is so annoying and whinny that she is impossable to care for. Finally Robert DeNiro takes over for Robert Mitchum as the ex-con Max Cady.
After being released from prison Cady seeks out Bowden becouse he blames him for his loosig his case for him by hiding documents that could have swayed a jury.
Unlike the first movie where Cady's return seems very scary
becouse the man who testified agianst him (Bowden) just did what we all would like to think we would. This time you actually feel for Cady, and for this I think that Scorsese made his biggest mistake.
Sam Bowden is really unlikeable as is his wife and tramp of a daughter. Nolte's Bowden is a far cry from the reseved Peck.
Robert DeNiro grabbed an oscar nommination for his role as Max Cady but his Cady is so crazy and out of control at time's that you never get the feeling that he is the same person and for that I found it very hard to believe him in the role. Mitchum was so menicing in the original role that I think DeNiro felt that he had to take the charactor in a differnt direction, it just didn't work.
You would rather be defended by Gregory Peck Than Nick Nolte, and you would rather have DeNiro casing after you than Mitchum.
In closing this was not a very good film. It took one of the best elements from the first one, implied violence, and showed you just how mean Cady could be, and as we all know nothing we see can compare to what we think is happening.
P.S. Robert Mitchums Max Cady would beat the living hell out of Deniro's.
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on December 31, 2002
Martin Scorsese is a brilliant director! He took the original masterpiece of revenge and suspense and updated it. In this more intense and graphically violent 90s version, cigar smoking, Southern ex-con, Max Cady, sets out to slowly destroy his former attorney, Sam Bowden. Fourteen years ago, Sam was Cady's lawyer, defending him on the crime of rape. Sam saw what Max had done to this girl, and so, when a report came in that the girl was promiscuous, Sam buried it. The report would have lightened Max's sentence, but instead he was sent to prison for an elongated stretch. Now Max is back for vengeance. His body is a human weapon, with huge muscles and extensive tattooing. The tattoos illustrate his interest in the Bible, especially the gigantic Crucifix on his back. Max Cady sees that the Bowden family is dysfunctional, so, before completly destroying Sam, he wants to have some fun with the family. In a particularly inspirational scene, he seduces Sam's daughter, Danielle. The showdown on Cape Fear River is much more scary and thrilling than the one in the original. Robert De Niro does a superb job as Max Cady, Juliette Lewis does wonderfully as Danielle, and Joe Don Baker is great as Kersek. Robert Mitchum is a good cameo, and so is Gregory Peck. Nick Nolte is pretty good too. He's pretty believable. Jessica Lange seemed to overdo it just a little, but she still did pretty good. This is a totally different thing than the original, and both are equal in greatness. I recommend this movie for thriller/horror fans, but I also strongly precaution younger children not to watch this. And, for those with a really weak stomach, don't watch this right after or before you have eaten. Great movie! The extra features on the DVD are great. The Photograph Montage features clips of Robert De Niro's Max Cady, the Cast of Cape Fear, and photos of Martin Scorsese directing Cape Fear. The Making of Cape Fear is insightful for those who wish to be in the movie business, and it features interviews with De Niro, Lewis, Lange, Scorsese, Peck, and Nolte. An especially interesting element of the making tells how Robert De Niro got pumped up for the part. The theatrical trailer is probably the best movie trailer I've scene. It starts out with picturesque beauty and lovely music, then quickly transforms into the thrills. The DVD is wonderful, and the movie is inspirational.
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on October 28, 2002
Without question, Robert De Niro is a greater actor than Robert Mitchum ever dreamed of being. But with all his tattoos and glowerings as Max Cady, and with all the graphic violence, he doesn't come anywhere near being as frightening in this remake as Mitchum was just ambling across a parking lot in the original. No amount of directorial tinkering can disguise the fact that this is a genre flick, pure and simple. I think this kind of movie needs a Mitchum more than it does a De Niro, but it might have been very much more effective had they given Nick Nolte, who can be truly frightening with a minimum of effort, the role of the psychopath and De Niro the subtler one of the attorney. Jessica Lange is always good, as she is here, but she's also an actress who positively exudes indominatible strength; in a role that is still more a plot device than a character, Ms. Lange is overqualified, and not really an improvement over Polly Bergen.
All of which leaves Juliette Lewis, who not only gives the most interesting performance in this film, but provides the only justification for its being made.
Don't get me wrong: I don't think the original Cape Fear is a great film or anything. But in terms of creating a truly memorable scary character, it succeeded: the memory of Mitchum in his Hawaiian shirt stalking this family will haunt your nightmares long after you've forgotten you ever saw the remake. Maybe Scorcese just tried too hard. But you won't forget Juliette Lewis...
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on September 15, 2002
Wouldn't you expect a movie that stars Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Robert DeNiro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Fred Thompson and Joe Don Baker to be outstanding. Well you would be right in this case. But it is DeNiro that steals the show. He portrays yet another in depth character that keeps you riveted to the screen.
Max Cady (DeNiro) was in jail for 14 years for a battery he was convicted of. It was a rape but pleaded down by his lawyer portrayed by Nick Notle to a battery. Nolte felt he was doing both Cady and the victim a service. Notle rationalized that he was doing a service and Cady couldn't read anyway.
While in prison, Cady learns to read, and reads law books and transcipts and comes to the conclusion that his lawyer sold him up the river. Cady has now become a smart nut case. He knows the law and what he can and can't do. He bgins stalking and legally harrassing the entire family. The law can do nothing, the PI's can do nothing. It is up to the family.
Will they do something? Will it escalate? Can it be stopped? Watch this movie for the excellent story line, the superb acting, the suspense or for whatever reason you desire. But watch it. It is a great movie and another outstanding performance by Robert DeNiro.
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on August 22, 2002
Martin Scorcese directs this thriller about revenge and sin. Based on the original 1962 film "Cape Fear", starring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, this story is a bit different, and more interesting. Robert De Niro brilliantly portrays the role of Max Cady, a Southern, tattoo-riddled, cigar smoking ex-con, who seeks vengeance on his former lawyer, Sam Bowden, for doing an inadequate job at defending him on the charge of rape. You see, Sam got a report that the rape victim was promiscious, but he buried the report. Cady's sentence could have been reduced, had the report been featured, but instead he spent fourteen years in prison. Max Cady is clever, so that the law can't touch him. So, he can easily slip in and out of the Bowden household whenever he pleases, and stalk Sam wherever he goes. Meanwhile, Sam goes through his own troubles with his family: his wife, Leigh, doesn't trust him because he had an affair, and his teenage daughter, Danielle, is going through adolescent troubles. There is an especially brilliant and eerie scene in which Cady tries to pyschologically seduce Danielle, posing as her drama teacher. "Wait a're not my drama teacher, are you?" "Maybe I'm the big bad wolf". It finally comes down to a violent showdown on a houseboat at Cape Fear River. But, since Sam Bowden, in this version, is definitely not a hero, it is somewhat intricate to tell who shall be the victor. To find out, you will have to watch this film yourself. A marvelous movie that all horror/suspense film fans should love. Robert De Niro does a marvelous job as playing Max Cady, and Juliet Lewis equally portrays Danielle Bowden. Jessica Leing does a great job as Sam's wife, Leigh, and Martin Scorcese directs it wonderfully! My only complaint is Nick Nolte. He didn't really get into his part except for on certain scenes. Oh, well. It's still definitely worth renting or buying! "Counselor, counselor. Come out, come out, wherever you are!" "I think we're alone now." "Well, it's a small town, I guess everywhere you turn, we're gonna run into each other".-Max Cady quotes.
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on July 16, 2002
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.
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