RARA-AVIS: Cape Fear

From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 30 Jun 2003

Watched the newer Cape Fear movie last night after coming back from the lake. Usually remakes are sorta vapid, but this one was excellent. My problem with movie scripts is that the changes often alter the original impact of the novel without replacing it with anything worthwhile. Whereas JDM's novel was fairly straightforward, Scoresese added shades of gray to the white and black hats by revealing that Sam has suppressed evidence that might have freed Cady, and where Mitchum was just a badass Cady, DeNiro becomes a brilliant psychological master, playing the rest of the characters like puppets. The filming was superb. I liked the opening of the movie showing the scary tattoos on DeNiro's back and his tensed muscles and then, in the background, the books he has been reading. I liked the color tweaks where the film looks like a negative. Good acting too, except I thought Mitchum and Peck were both sorta mediocre. I had forgotten they were in the movie, and until watching it, I hadn't understood the significance (irony?) of their place in the movie. I liked the ending better than JDM's book or the first movie. Although the movie ending wasn't even close to the book, I thought it had the intensity of JDM's DEEP BLUE GOODBYE ending.

My only complaint is that I thought the sexuality might have been a bit overplayed. Now don't get me wrong. I have nothing at all against Jessica Lange's bare shoulders, but it still seemed like all that was laid on a bit heavy. Somebody mentioned the thing between DeNiro and Juliette Lewis struck them as absurd, but I thought it was effective. It displayed Lewis teetering on edge of innocence and DeNiro's consider- able manipulative powers.


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