Deeply Affected by the Deep "Affliction".....
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 06/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to the May 2003 release of Lion's Gate DVD edition of "Affliction".....
1998 was a year when World War II films and English period pieces took center stage. But amidst those wonderful films,there was also "Affliction". An excellent film and brillant character study that may leave you thinking about it for days afterwards. A superb piece of filmamking. Artful direction and a beautiful screenplay by Paul Schrader(who also wrote the screenplays for "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull"), skillfully filmed by Paul Sarossy, and exquiste acting by a cast that includes, Nick Nolte, James Coburn, Sissy Spacek and Willem Dafoe make for one deep and moving drama.
Dafoe captivatingly narrates this story of Wade Whitehouse(Nolte). A small town cop,whose past has a grip on him and won't let go. Wade who was raised by an alcoholic and abusive father(Coburn), now seems to be losing his own grip on reality as he tries to juggle his own dysfunctional life. He is in the midst of an investigation of an "accidental" hunting accident, he is trying (unsuccessfully) to mend his relationship with his young daughter, and trying to make some sort of life with his new girlfriend(Spacek). His past and his present come crashing down around him, as he examines his life and the bad memories are flooding back to him. Wade must try to break this cycle or live his life burdened with the chains of the past.
Nolte turns in what may be the performance of his career and was honored by the Nat'l Society of Film Crtics, and The New York Film Critic's Circle Awards for Best Actor in his role. Coburn is also superb and recieved an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the abusive father. I highly recommend this film to anyone who appreciates fine filmaking and an excellent drama.
This Lion's Gate DVD is an excellent transfer. The picture is sharp and clear and the colors vibrant. The sound is in Dolby Digital Stereo and is great for this film of almost all dialouge.
There are no bonus features, but it has subtitles in both English and Spanish and if you click on to the Lion's Gate logo in the main menu you will find some trailers as well.
A not to be missed film for lovers of great cinema. Thanks and enjoy...Laurie
The Ice Storm
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A bleak town and a dark legacy
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 08/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on a novel by Russell Banks who also wrote "The Sweet Hereafter", and directed by Paul Schrader of "Raging Bull" and "The Mosquito Coast" fame, the winter landscape and cold bleakness of the town sets the tone for this exploration of the dark legacy of what it is to be a man.Nick Nolte stars in this dark story of a the lone policeman in a small New Hampshire town investigating a hunting accident. He is divorced and trying and to get custody of his young daughter who rejects his fumbling efforts to be nice to her. James Coburn is excellent as Nick Nolte's father, a brutal and angry old man who typifies a sick machismo which has in turn afflicted his son. His acting is extraordinary as is Nolte's although their styles are different. Noltle is subtle; his facial expressions are controlled and typical of a man who has learned to hold in emotion. Coburn's face, on the other hand, is more deeply expressive; his eyebrows move, his mouth hardens, his eyes glare.This is the kind of dark, brooding movie that I like. For a brief few hours I enter its world and get completely absorbed in the characters in the way I did with "A thousand Acres" or "The Horse Whisperers". Like these films, there are no easy answers and the conclusion does not wrap up in a neat little Hollywood package that is soon forgotten. Recommended."
A Child Dressed as a Man
Jarrod P. Stenberg | Saint Paul, Minnesota USA | 11/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The movie starts with Wade Whitehouse bringing his daughter to a small town Halloween party. The distance between the two is apparent and about to get worse. They arrive, daughter dressed as a tiger, Wade dressed as a cop. He is a child dressed as a man. The daughter is out of place and unhappy, making this known to Wade. Facing a challenge that is beyond him, he steps outside where he is pulled into the life of some younger people, driving around town, getting stoned and being generally small-town. Why does Wade shy away from being a man? Because his definition of a man is his father, an abusive and alcoholic ogre. Wade has found peace in being a parody of an adult. He can hang with kids just shy of high school because he has not permitted himself to grow any older than just-short-of-manhood. He is pathetic, but he is also very amiable. He could live his whole life this way. That is, he could if he hadn't already committed to fatherhood and if the new love of his life didn't expect a bit more.His new love, Marge, is a small town woman through and through. Perhaps she has been passed around a bit, but she has a good heart. She seems barely content with drifting through life, staying just short of ambitious. Perhaps she'll marry her bear-cub boyfriend Wade and have a family while she can. Perhaps not. She is smarter than Wade, but he is fun and harmless, it seems.Wade's brother, Rolfe, is the kid who managed to avoid the blows of his father. He is the smart one. Smart enough to stay far enough away from his father, smart enough to distract himself from the ruins of abuse with intellectual pursuits. His intelligence bought him a way out. He is committed only to himself.Exposing his own aggression, Rolfe plants seeds in Wade that will soon be Wade's undoing. To Rolfe, it's all a bit fun. When he's back in his home-town, he returns to a role. He and Wade are kids up to no good. They are sleuths, unlocking the truth of the grown-ups. There is no risk to Rolfe since his brother has and will be the shield.Wade's role is stressed in a series of events. He has been powerless in keeping his family together. His ex-wife outgrew him and has moved on. He is powerless against even the will of his daughter. He has not seemed to even notice that she is not 6 anymore, and that she has begun to recognize his shortcomings. All this, he must change. He had been handed the role of a cop, not for merit, but for obedience to the town's owners. This must change. His father has become incompetent and might have even let his mother die from exposure. Wade becomes the head of the household and thus launches his new interest in a commanding role. But a commanding role requires a man. For Wade, a man is a monster. Needless to say, it doesn't go well for Wade and all who surround him."