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|Index||170 reviews in total|
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.
This is not a date movie, a Hollywood formula movie, a comic romp, or Gen-X whimsy. It is dark, brooding, and sad--as is the excellent novel on which it was based. See it and learn something about great writing, acting, and storytelling.
Paul Schrader's Russell Banks adaptation may be rough-around-the-edges, unevenly paced and somewhat murky. But "Affliction" has a raw power that reveals how smug and sanitized Atom Egoyan's Banks-derived "The Sweet Hereafter" really is. Schrader, as he has always done, looks fearlessly and compassionately at people who cant stop themselves from creating their own hell. In "The Sweet Hereafter," Egoyan's grieving parents are visual components of a postcard from the snowy mountains of majestic British Columbia.
This is another adapted screenplay from a Russell Banks' novel after last year's masterpiece "The Sweet Hereafter". Paul Schrader has always been a profundly interesting personality; involved in the writing of Scorsese's films and in the directing of such visually daring/non-commercial pictures as "Mishima". We have hardly heard of him the last few years (who has seen "Touch"?). This film seems to have taken dust on the shelves as it actually is a 1997 film. Actors are mostly excellent (Oscars possibilities for James Coburn and Nick Nolte) but the film never really takes off as if it is stuck into the deep snow of those remote locations we are exposed to. It is not a widescreen film and as such does not take advantage of the winter landscapes as in Atom Egoyan's film. It lacks of dynamics and its "Like father, like son" morality at the end does not really convince.
Well-paced telling of the story helped to get the best of Nick Nolte especially, but also other members of the cast. If this film is a faithful version of the book, obviously the tale was told unhurriedly, adding greater depth to its telling and the characterization.
Generally this kind of film, which might be classified as suspenseful thriller, does not represent my favourite appetite. But with an interesting story line played out at an intelligent rhythm amid the nicely-photographed snow-bound countryside of New Hampshire, and with well-tuned interpretations, the result is a film which turns out to be better than expected. Admirable directing here, and certainly one of Nick Nolte's more memorable parts.
Well worth watching if this film comes your way.
Affliction is a film that is bleak in the extreme. It's about a man (Nick Nolte), his father (James Coburn), his girlfriend (Sissy Spacek) and his daughter. It tells the story of Nolte, who is wandering through a pointless existence. The film, to me was about how Nolte tried so hard to not be like his physically and mentally abusive, alcoholic father, but no matter how he tried he just became more of the same. The film captures small time life so dead on, like few films this side of The Sweet Hereafter and The Straight Story. This film is also based on Russel Banks' novel, the author who penned The Sweet Hereafter. While this film doesn't boast the visual beauty and intelligently interwoven narrative structure of The Sweet Hereafter, it has its similarities. Both set in small town in winter, both extremely well acted character studies, both dealing with tragedy. The tragedy of a bus crash in The Sweet Hereafter, the tragedy of a man's wasted life in Affliction. The acting is superb, even Spacek who has little to do is worth watching. There is a police murder investigation subplot that detracts away from the main road, but it establishes Nolte's more paranoid side of his character and gives Nolte's brother (Willem Dafoe)an excuse to make a few more appearances. My favorite part is when an outdoor structure is engulfed in flames, visible through the window beside Nolte sitting at his kitchen table. If you have a tendency to get depressed, this isn't a movie for you, but if you have a generally sober mindset and you're not bothered by "downers", Affliction should be a welcome addition to your film oevre.
Reading some of the other comments on this film, I am dumbfounded at the
complete cluelessness of some of these people. Yes, it's true that
AFFLICTION is not a happy film. It's not a neatly-plotted detective story.
It's not an adrenaline-pumping action flick. What it IS is a bleak,
no-holds-barred examination of the pain -- emotional, psychological, and
physical -- that human beings both endure and inflict upon each other. If
this isn't something that interests you, here's some advice: DON'T WATCH
If, however, you're in the mood for a powerful, brilliantly-acted drama about the sins of the father visited upon the sons, then this is worth a look. Nick Nolte and James Coburn are simply extraordinary; Coburn won an Oscar for his role, and Nolte deserved one for his. Watching their dance of mutual hatred is like witnessing a horrible car accident in slow motion; you don't want to see but you can't look away. This isn't fun, there are no easy answers, and events don't always have a happy ending. In this icily brilliant film, director Paul Schrader and novelist Russell Banks show you how and why.
Nick Nolte was given quite a hard role to play. The whole film is a portrait
of his character, Wade, and that character is very complex. Wade is becoming
mentally ill during the movie and if you don't watch very closely you
realize this quite late into the film.
However, there are many reasons for Wade to turn mad: His daughter doesn't want to live with him; he isn't too accurate in his job and his mother dies, while his father is hard to cope with in his old age. Unusual and sad things happened to him and as a consequence, Wade starts to imagine completely irrational things. What I found fantastic is that for the viewer those things don't seem so utterly absurd at the beginning. Some might even think the film is a thriller. It isn't. It's the sad drama of one single man who isn't able to exert an influence on his neighbourhood but is somehow obsessed with doing this.
The story ends with a tragic event. The narrator, Wade's brother Rolfe (a thoughtful Willem Dafoe) announces it at the beginning, so the viewer spends the movie thinking about what it might be. I don't know whether this is a good idea because it makes the ending have a rather unsatisfying effect, but at least the speculations help over the lenghts the movie has after all. Affliction` is a well-acted, sad, sad, sad, sad movie to think about.
Paul Schrader (who penned "Taxi Driver" and directed "Light Sleeper") again takes us into the head of a mentally crumbling loner and finds-- surprise!-- dark shadows and depression. Who likes this kind of torture? As low-rent cop Wade Whitehouse, Nick Nolte gives an impressive, but oppressive, performance, as does Oscar winner James Coburn, who plays Wade's abusive dad. There's a "murder mystery" buried in this nightmare, but Schrader keeps casting it aside for repetitious moments of angst. The revelation: that the sins of the father haunt the sons. And for that we waste Sissy Spacek, and two hours of our time. Painful.
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