Spotlight – Martin Scorsese: Cape Fear [1991]

by Nicholas Robinson


Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) is a small-town corporate attorney/”Leave It to Beaver”-esque family-man. Max Cady (Robert De Niro) is a tattooed, cigar-smoking, bible-quoting, psychotic rapist. What do they have in common? Fourteen years, ago Sam was a public defender assigned to Max Cady’s rape trial, and he made a serious error: he hid a document from his illiterate client that could have gotten him acquitted. Now, the cagey, bibliophile Cady has been released, and he intends to teach Sam Bowden and his family a thing or two about loss.IMDB.com


Once again I apologize for the late article.  Due to a horribly undependable school transport system, I was waiting at a bus stop for 3 hours for the university bus to get back to school and got back just in time for class.  Also, by the time I got home, it was too late to watch the entire movie.  Also due to even more circumstances today (including a birthday lunch) I just finished watching the movie.  But here I am, posting the review anyway (even though I am a day late).  About the movie now.  Once again Martin Scorsese provides us with a good story, amazing acting, really good cinematography and a wonderful score.

The story was pretty good.  It was a pretty straightforward thriller.  There was no twist at the end like most thrillers but with what it was it was really good.  The reason for the harassment of the family is shown at the beginning which lets us focus on the great performances  and character development instead of having to worry about a lead up to a FINAL reveal at the end that just shocks us yet there was evidence of it in the lead up.  Overall a good story.

The acting in this movie was amazing but mainly by De Niro and Nolte.  Robert De Niro gave an amazing performance as the psychotic Max Cady  switching from charming educated southerner to psychotic serial rapist when necessary and effortlessly.  He played both aspects perfectly and shows why he deserved his recent reception of the Cecil B Demille award at the Golden Globes.  Nick Nolte also gave a wonderful performance as the lawyer Sam Bowden.  He shows how a man can be a good family man but when pushed to extremes, do what is necessary to protect that family and his life.  Jessica Lange and Juliette Lewis were OK in this movie but pulled out some emotional scenes in the end.  I also found it cool that Gregory Peck got a cameo in there as the best defence attorney in the state (especially since he was in the original Cape Fear [1962]).

The cinematography was great.  Every shot was purposefully done to increase suspense and just scare you into wondering if Max Cady was looking at you from underwater, or sitting on your property wall, or breaking into your house.  This movie was actually scarier (I wasn’t actually scared but normal people would be) that most horror movies in the past decade and cinematography is the secondary reason why it is.  It was just really good.

The score in this movie was wonderful.  From the opening credits, you just hear this ominous music almost like Inception (except that wasn’t really ominous) and this continues for the entire movie to set the stage for every single scene.  It just fit the movie perfecctly.

Overall this is a really good movie that I am glad I FINALLY found the time to watch.

IMDB says 7.3/10

RT says 76%

I say 9.0/10


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~ by sputnikreviews on January 28, 2011.

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