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|Index||173 reviews in total|
Movies like "Affliction" tend to get elbowed out of the way by flashy, pushy crowd-pleasers lacking originality. It's a shame. This is a fine, well-acted drama by generally strong writer-director Paul Schrader, who has scripted movies such as "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull" as well as films he's directed. Nick Nolte is outstanding as a New Hampshire police officer who's slowly crumbling as his personal life and professional life tug him in different, destructive directions, while the legacy of his violent father drags him down. The film isn't perfect; the script at times doesn't hit as hard as it could, but this is generally very fine, rare filmmaking. 8 of 10 stars.
If you grew up in a healthy family - if there is any such thing as a healthy family - you may not like AFFLICTION. It had so many powerful connections to my own personal life that I found it nearly overwhelming. Great, just great. Although James Coburn did deserve the Oscar he won as supporting actor in this, it was Nick Nolte who just killed me, watching it. And the ineffable Sissy Spacek: great, just great.
If you like pleasure spiked with pain, by all means, rush out and see this film. This movie does present a successful formula to win the coveted gold statue. Make a piece of crap film, insert one shining character, get an under-appreciated genius of an actor. Viola! James Coburn and James Coburn alone makes this movie watchable. A friend and I had to reassure each other that if we suffered long enough then Coburn would show back up on screen. His performance is so good, that we realized we might forget how bad this movie is and somewhere down the road delude ourselves that it was good and watch it again. However, we must never forget that no matter how good Coburn is, this movie isn't worth the pain.
"Affliction" could have been a good movie, exploring the transfer of anger
and violence from father to son. Instead, it takes a rather heavy-handed
approach to its subject matter, and with a shallow plot providing shaky
support, the movie doesn't really get anywhere.
Nick Nolte, in a top-drawer performance, plays the adult son, now a cop in small New Hampshire town. James Coburn, as the father, turns in a gritty performance that earned him an Oscar. Sissy Spacek was wasted in a marginal role.
Narration works well in some films, but not this one. It seems it was thrown in to hold the story together, but is off-putting and keeps the viewer even further removed.
In "Affliction" (** out of ****) I had trouble accepting the Nick Nolte character as a tragic figure. I assume all his problems functioning as an adult can be traced back to his abusive father, but after watching him make one stubbornly wrongheaded decision after another for two hours, my patience started to wear thin. Everyone else in the town, including his own brother, has washed their hands of the old man years ago, why can't he? Why does he persist in trying to have a relationship with someone who is so psychotically mean he should probably be committed? Maybe the nasty old man is right about his son after all. Maybe he is just a loser through and through. James Coburn tries to find some humor and humanity in a one-dimensional role, but it's a losing battle, I think. Willem Dafoe's heavy-handed closing narration manages to wrap up some aspects of the story, while opening up new mystifications. Some bloopers: Although the story of "Affliction" supposedly begins on Halloween in autumnal New Hampshire, it already appears to be mid-January with a heavy snowfall on the ground. That's because the film was actually shot in Canada in mid-winter. So even the look of the movie doesn't quite ring true. Also, even though Nolte is seen pulling a tooth out of his own mouth, nothing seems to be missing when he smiles broadly in several subsequent scenes.
Affliction is a small slice of life picture that deals with some very dark subjects. Nolte gives a very good performance, Coburn does as well. Abuse is a very touchy subject, Paul Schrader is never afraid to take it on however. This film is haunting and the cinematography is beautiful. I liked this film alot but felt very empty at the end. Still I think people should see this film in hopes of understanding certain afflictions passed on for generations.
I rented the video because I am a big fan of Nolte and because it had earned some very good reviews. I was disappointed to find the plot predictable and the characters uninteresting. About half-way through the picture I didn't care what happened to any of them, I just wished they would get it over with.Two days after watching it, I've already forgotten how it ended.
Very engrossing! My own childhood was not exactly happy either, but after watching the movie, I felt I was still relatively lucky. Superb performance by Nick Nolte! He was able to make me fully empathize with his dilemma. James Coburn was great too! He can really get under your skin.
Nick Nolte is an amazing actor, who seems to play Nick Nolte too often. His character in Affliction seems something we know he could play. He's not a very diverse actor, so it's almost disappointing to see such an average performance in 'His' role. Jack Nicholson did the same thing in As Good as it Gets ( he is a very diverse actor, though). The movie itself is just okay. It didn't make my top ten of 1998, but it is not a bad film. Sissy Spacek gives a truly stunning performance. She deserved an Oscar nomination. James Coburn, on the other hand, does not deserve the award over Billy Bob Thorton. I would have gladly gave his nomination to Jeremy Davies or Bill Murray.
6.5/10 Final word: Bleak as hell, but has some good images.
I can't say I liked Affliction, nor can I say I hated it. It's been 3
months since I've seen it and I'm still trying to decide. One thing's for
sure, Nick Nolte and James Coburn were great. Nolte as Wade whose life is
falling apart, and Coburn as his alcoholic and verbally abusive dad carry
the film. Plus, Sissy Spacek is good as Wade's girlfriend who wants to
loyal to him but eventually gets fed up.
The plot (if there actually was one) was pretty weak. If someone were to ask me exactly what it was I'd sort of be lost to tell them. That's why I can't decide whether or not I liked or hated this film.
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