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When neighborhood kids begin vanishing, Jenny (Lolita Davidovich) suspects her child psychologist husband, Carter, may be resuming the deranged experiments his father performed on Carter when he was young. Now, it falls to Jenny to unravel the mystery. And as more children disappear, she fears for her own child's safety. John Lithgow plays creepy multiple roles as Carter, his evil twin and their father in director Brian De Palma's wicked shocker.
"I did nothing. I don't even exist."
De Palma's toying with cinematic subjectivity and where we place ourselves inside our own self-image, to which he can't resist adding some self-parody. there's an intentional denial of release here in almost every sequence. the expected crescendo never quite happens.
just for fun i watched this twice today, first on DVD and then in Peet Gelderblom's RAISING CAIN RECUT version. RECUT is probably superior for having that snowballing De Palma momentum, both versions are preposterous masterpieces.
Drifting off the path of success in quite a spectacular fashion with the enormously misguided and tone deaf "Bonfire of the Vanities" (see the amazing book "The Devil's Candy" by Julie Salamon), DePalma came back in force with a film that feels very much like a cataloging of his various visual and thematic obsessions.
-If I could single out one specific thing that keeps this movie from being on the same level as DePalma's best thrillers it would be John Lithgow. I think it's a combination of an awkwardly written character and just plain miscasting because Lithgow is not threatening, not funny and when they play up his sexuality it's death on the screen (I'll give this aspect a bit…
The Count's Verdict: Oh Brian, you are bonkers and boy do I love you for it. I've had a longstanding and deep rooted affection for RAISING CAIN ever since I first saw it on VHS back in the mid-nineties. Yes, it has a trashy 'TV-movie' melodrama feel in places BUT... It is also so knowingly demented and delirious that in many respects it is one of De Palma's most unrestrained, thus most entertaining, films. John Lithgow, regular De Palma nutter, is gleefully unhinged delivering 'multiple' performances each as brilliantly batty as the next and Francis Sternhagen is simply a delight as Dr. Waldheim. Not forgetting familiar face Gregg Henry, Pino Donaggio on scoring duty and several masterfully staged set-pieces which eclipse the film's flaws to make it trademark De Palma.
O filme parte desse evento psicanalítico para ir fundando e refundando toda uma natureza encenativa que faz questão de oficializar seu amor por esse jogo entre o drama histriônico e a leveza da forma, esse altamente prazeroso pesadelo da superfície. Um filme com um plano sequência em que a personagem nunca sabe para onde ir, precisa ser redirecionada a todo tempo, e termina esse mesmo plano no close de um cadáver histérico, meu amigo, é um filme que tem a mais completa consciência de seus modelos, o mais absoluto domínio da mediação cinematográfica, que brinca com esse domínio com uma inventividade que poucos artistas neste mundo detêm.
The film stars John Lithgow (TV's 3rd Rock From The Sun, Cliffhanger) as psychologist Carter Nix, a loving husband and devoted father who takes a year off his work to help raise his daughter. At least that is what his wife, Jenny (Lolita Davidovich - Mystery, Alaska) thinks. Everyone believes Carter's father to be dead after allegedly commiting suicide after jumping bail from being arrested for attempting to buy babies in order to perform psycological experiments. In fact, Carter's father is alive and well and is using Carter's multiple personality disorder to murder mothers and babysitters and steal their children. Will the police catch them before it's too late though?
It's a suspenseful film that definitely keeps your attention throughout…
De Palma's Psycho (no scene in a De Palma has ever riffed so hard as the scene where Carter is detained and diagnosed), made with the bright color palette of Suspiria. Like Psycho, the film makes multiple sudden shifts in genre. Here it seems more fractured, akin to the title character's psyche. Perhaps there are too many diversions, but some sequences are really fantastic (the hospital scene; dream sequences and the showdown at the hotel that features a few callback to the dream). The protagonist shifts just as much as it does in the aforementioned Hitchcock film; and both films mess around with audience subjectivity in exciting ways.
While not one of my favorites from De Palma, Raising Cain is quite the blast from start to finish. I would have despised this if it was my first encounter with De Palma. It even took me a bit to fully get on board with what De Palma was doing here. It has the same tone I would expect from a Lifetime movie, which is something that sometimes works to De Palma’s advantage here. Everything from the general look of the film to the interactions between character genuinely suits the tone De Palma was going for here. It perfectly captures this small-town feel to the film. Where it does not work is during the film's more serious moments, which are…
It's as if Depalma scooped all the leftover frothy camp cream off the top of all his prior films and used it as the primary tool in the construction of Raising Cain. This is not a good film-really it's terrible-but I love it. John Lithgow's performance is so over-the-top I can't imagine any director saying yup that was the take. I love how the film is filled with obviously storyboarded shots that look good but the sum of their intricacies is ridiculous - at one point a truck backs up and pulls into a space no less than 10 times. There's no real-world purpose, that's purely for the benefit of cinema. I love all the miss directed dream within a…
De Palma de palmas the shit out of this one.
So that was an interesting watch. Its the type of movie where the expectations you have going in is everything, if you are expecting some dark and serious thriller you're not going to have a good time, this is more fun, and cheesy than scary, The tone is over the top and melodramatic, and the whole plot has it fair share of plot holes and not very smart decisions.
The main thing here is John Lightgow, the man is a treasure, and here he just goes all in, every performance he gives in this is quite far away from being subtle, and he has a blast with it, every time he is on the screen the movie works. Which takes…
So I generally really like De Palma movie, but here... I don't know, this is either a thriller that doesn't know it is a comedy, or a comedy that doesn't know that it is a thriller.
A few years ago I read this article:
And this is the fan recut:
This is a fairly unattractive film by De Palma standards, poorly written, poorly acted as is (Lithgow allowed to ham it up to this level is just nauseating), so don't know how much further I want to go to discover De Palma shouldn't have backed down for the theatrical release or not, because those three things are pretty insurmountable. But, I don't know, maybe I will.
The use of dreams and memories, recurring orange lighting and shadowy noir setups bring to mind the poetry of Obsession. What's real and what isn't? Where does Carter end and Cain begin? Taking it further, De Palma throws in all kinds of homages and mixes it with his own movies, the most interesting being the mindbending that comes from having Psycho throwbacks in the same movie that references his remake Dressed to Kill.
Some great little thrills strung around a story that I kind of stopped caring about by the end. Typical De Palma Hitchcock homages. If you like John Lithgow's hamminess then you'll be happy to hear he has a lot to do and he really tries his heart out.
De Palma has a great time sending himself up in this insidious serving of ham and cheese. Murder, adultery, child abduction, flashbacks, dream sequences, mental derangement and Lithgow at his best. Utterly bonkers and lots of fun.
I've just finished watching Peet Gelderblom's re-cut which is interesting. I'm not sure if I prefer it but it's very difficult to judge it, being so familiar with the original version.
Raising Cain might not be classic De Palma, but it's defintely Vintage.
For the most part, very little of this movie works. It's melodramatic, choppily acted, plainly ridiculous and steals so heavily from Hitchcock it's embarrassing. If you aren't familier with De Palma's work, you would probably see all of these things as negatives.
But if, like me, you're a De Palma obsessive then all of the above just becomes part of the fun and Raising Cain is just that - fun.
Saying that, this is definitely a borderline lower-tier effort from the master, stealing liberally not only from Hitchcock (ripping the swamp scene from Psycho is surely De Palma's most shameless theft?) but also from himself. The Director references…
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