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Affliction (1997)

Director:
Paul Schrader

COUNTRY
USA

Genre
Crime/Drama

NORWEGIAN TITLE
Den jagede

RUNNING TIME
114 minutes

Producer:
Linda Reisman

Screenwriter (based on the novel by Russell Banks):
Paul Schrader


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Wade Whitehouse Nick Nolte
Glen Whitehouse James Coburn
Margie Fogg Sissy Spacek
Rolfe Whitehouse Willem Dafoe
Lillian Whitehouse Horner Mary Beth Hurt
Jill Whitehouse Brigid Tierney
Gordon LaRiviere Holmes Osborne
Jack Hewitt Jim True-Frost

 

Review

Early on in this hard-hitting, bleak crime-drama by Paul Schrader, the film has all the hallmarks of a splendid novel adaptation. There's an urgency and sleight of hand to the storytelling, and characters and situations float in and out of focus like in a good book. The story is centered around out-of-luck police officer and weekend dad Wade Whitehouse, played with great effort by Nick Nolte. He pinpoints Wade's unlucky combination of brute forcefulness and heart-on-sleeve emotional instability. Through Wade we eventually find ourselves in the middle of a family drama mixed in with a crime subplot, and it all works quite well until Schrader is left with the task of reining everything in. The film ultimately paints itself into a corner with Wade, from which there is no escape other than through overblown actions and statements. And it doesn't much help that Schrader turns to Willem Dafoe to deliver the latter in the form of an insipid narration. There's arguably a good story at the core of Affliction, but it's not told with the necessary subtlety or conviction. A sinister James Coburn won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his part as Nolte's father.

Copyright 03.04.2021 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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