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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.
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.
The funniest thing about this madhouse of a thriller is that John Lithgow really seems to think he's making Fight Club, and/or turning in the performance that will nab him a Best Actor Oscar. As a timid kidnapper and his eeeevil twin (OR IS HE, DUN DUN DUN), he plays both halves of the Mr. Brooks dichotomy with a ridiculously unwarranted conviction and determination. This film, about an evil doctor nabbing babies for mad science, with the help of his science-warped son, is lurid and misogynistic even by Brian De Palma's standards, but it's all much too hilariously misguided and mishandled to be offensive or even embarrassing. It's like watching a favorite actor on a drunken bender. Recommended for fans of so-bad-it's-good cinema.
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), 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 a 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 of leeway as…
Not DePalma's best but dizzying and captivating. Lithgow is having way too much fun
Straordinario thriller del maestro De Palma.
Virtuosismi registici a go-go (un piano-sequenza sublime di 5 minuti fra le gemme elargite...), atmosfera malatissima, sbalzi di scena, piani di realtà che si infrangono e si sovrappongono, digressioni rivelatrici, dettagli cristallizzati.
John Lithgow immenso.
Theatrical and Re-Cut both at 4, and I suggest watching each version.
Note for future screenwriters and directors: If you simply must interject contextual backstory (or, shudder, mythology) into your story to explain a character's behavior, at least take a cue from this and wedge it into a relentlessly complex and beautiful tracking shot. And add John Lithgow in a wig, couldn't hurt.
I'm starting to suspect De Palma is not that sensitive to mental health issues.
Genuinely freaky moments brought about by melodramatic acting and score. Really surprised by some the storyline development. John Lithgow needs babies!
John Lithgow is a menacing multi-faced psycho in Brian De Palma's thriller, although released in the 90's its still got the feel of a poorly executed TV movie from the 80's. For a better De Palma experience watch 'Dressed to Kill', if you want to see Lithghow at his best seek out season 4 of Dexter.
I'm on another De Palma kick, now getting into the movies of his I don't want to watch. This is a thriller/horror that he did late in the game after he'd gotten some respect from Untouchables and then squandered it on Bonfire of the Vanities. Basically, Jon Lithgow has an evil twin and an evil father who are all played by him and it seems like they're all just his split personalities. His "twin" is going around kidnapping babies and murdering their mothers to give to the "father" to experiment on. It's kind of entertaining but very silly and not nearly as stylish as the likes of his classic 70s/80s stuff or Femme Fatale.
Oh, I was amused to see that De Palma ripped off the famous Tenebre reveal here too. I guess he liked it so much that he went on to use it again in Femme Fatale. It's actually pretty effective here.
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Two things: Gonna spend Memorial Day weekend tweaking and updating the sub-genre listings…
This list is complied from the films mentioned in Jack Lehtonen's Mubi list on vulgar auteurism, the films mentioned in…