Wade Whitehouse is a sheriff of a small New Hampshire town who achieved nothing in life in the opinion of his ex-wife Lillian and daughter Jill and is a heavy drinker. His girlfriend Margie accepts him the way he is. On the first day of the hunting season, Wade's friend Jack takes a wealthy businessman to hunt - and only Jack returns alive. Wade decides to play detective and starts investigating the case despite the fact Jack insists it was an accidental self-inflicted shot. Written by
For what is considered a small, independent film, this movie is packed with brilliant performances by two great actors. James Coburn is the dark, angry patriarch of an abusive household, whose abuse and anger are inherited by his son(Nolte). The story is told by the youngest brother (played mainly in voice-over and a small cameo by Willem Dafoe), and traces the events of a small town murder investigation that leads to the mental collapse of Nolte's cop character. The film weaves us through a buffet of sub-plots and bit characters (including a nice appearance by Sissy Spacek), which is at times whish-washed. However the tone and style of the film are quite fresh and unique.
Penned and directed by Paul Schrader, who will probably always be known for writing "Taxi Driver", the film is a stylish take of what is most likely a much better novel. The tone is cold and dark, and serves as the perfect backdrop for the anger and isolation of the two "male" characters. In my opinion, the voice-over narration takes away from the feeling the picture leaves, basically serving the purpose to tell us what to feel. The images and performances on the screen do a fine job in dong that on it's own, without re-enforcment. On a whole, the film is powerful and moving, and is a great look into the heart and soul of lives that are truely tortured. I would recommend this film if for no other reason than to see the brilliant performances of James Coburn (Oscar winner) and Nick Nolte (Oscar nominee).
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