Cape Fear (1991)

DVD Cover (Universal)
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Overall Rating 71%
Overall Rating
Ranked #758
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Connections: Cape Fear

Sam Bowden is a small-town corporate attorney family-man. Max Cady is a tattooed, cigar-smoking, bible-quoting, 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
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro
Nick Nolte
Nick Nolte
Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange
Juliette Lewis
Juliette Lewis
Joe Don Baker
Joe Don Baker
Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 18, 2007
What makes Martin Scorsese's "Cape Fear" so entirely different from the original is the visual style. "Cape Fear" is shot like an epic, from the gorgeous cinematography to the thundering score to the use of colors and light -- this is something you would expect from David Lean rather than Scorsese. But, in using such tactics, Scorsese brings respect to the original and improves upon it somewhat. This "Cape Fear" is more entertaining than the original. This "Cape Fear" is darker and more violent than the original. Scorsese brings his trademark knack for violence on film and adds a mythical quality to it, because "Cape Fear" is Hollywood royalty. And, Scorsese is the King.

After serving a 14-year prison sentence, convicted rapist Max Cady (Robert De Niro) is released from prison with only one thing on his mind -- seeking revenge on the lawyer (Nick Nolte) who originally defended him. Cady believes that his attorney was primarily responsible for his conviction and immediately begins torturing and harassing Nolte and his family, including his wife (Jessica Lange) and daughter (Juliette Lewis). Most of the film is really De Niro and Nolte playing a cat and mouse game, as we slowly start to see how evil and maniacal Cady is, and how determined Sam is to protect his family and not let some criminal get the better of him.

As previously mentioned, this film is all about 'the better man'. De Niro tops Nolte. Then Nolte tops De Niro. This goes on and on for the crux of the film. De Niro is sleazy and great as Max Cady, one of his best roles. What he does is totally immerse himself in this character and you genuinely feel uncomfortable when he is on screen. Nick Nolte takes his trademark intensity to the next level as attorney Sam Bowden. He cannot believe he is being targeted by this nut job, and Nolte once again shows how amazing an actor he is. Juliette Lewis really burst onto the scene with this role, and she is featured in one of the most unsettling scenes. It also doesn't hurt to have Jessica Lange, Joe Don Baker, Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck for support, eh?

It is obvious that Scorsese worshiped the original film and wanted to make sure he was as respectful as possible to the remake. Mitchum and Peck popping up was sheer brilliance, and Scorsese knew it would make fans of the original film cheer. "Cape Fear" shocked people when it was originally released, and remake isn't as much shocking as it is pure entertainment from one of the greatest directors working in the business. This was when Scorsese was red hot and this film just continued his streak. This is definitely the cast of a remake equaling and somewhat topping the original. And, if anyone can do something like that, you bet your ass it's Scorsese. 9/10.
Tristan #1: Tristan - added 11/25/2009, 03:49 PM
Really loved this one. Had a very Hitchcockian feel to it, which I felt worked perfectly given the source material. I could not find a single thing wrong with this film. The performances were solid, the camera work was great, albeit different from what you usually see from Scorsese, and the score was fantastic. All in all, a perfect suspenseful film.

Nirrad #2: Nirrad - added 11/25/2009, 04:08 PM
I was a little let down with this one, but it was still great. But unfortunately, it was kind of ruined because of The Simpsons. Every time I hear the music I think of Sideshow Bob. But it was still good. 9/10 for me.
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