Domestic Disturbance (2001)
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To me, the film would have been more enjoyable had the 12-year-old boy been a nicer kid, but he's an annoying brat. The mother (Teri Polo) is not that endearing, either. Definitely a movie that will entertain but a one-look film and nothing more, especially with the ending being as predictable as it turned out.
It's like they either have the character act like a total maniac by flying off the handle when denying what they're being accused of (so obviously the other party will of course not believe them now), or they say the completely wrong things and understate their case, and it is extremely frustrating to watch because you're just sitting there screaming, "WHY DON'T YOU JUST SAY THIS!!"
When that kid was in the interrogation room, his best method of convincing people that a murder took place was by weakly repeating: "look, I know what I saw OK.." Yeah that's gonna convince people. I don't care if you're 12, that's not the way you argue with people, and it's unrealistic.
The other thing that was silly was how the kid and the mother was STILL in the car by the time the father called her cell phone. They should've been gone by then, there was no logical reason why they would've still been in that garage, other than the fact the movie called for them to be there so the stepfather could catch them.
Come on be intelligent when you write, justify your damn script.
I'm surprised that this product comes from director Harold Becker (`The Onion Field', "Malice') who has given us a couple of fine thrillers. Besides the flimsy script, the cinematography is annoyingly underexposed. If Becker was trying for a dark look, he achieved it, because the film is so dark that much of the time you can only tell who's speaking by voice recognition, and that's outdoors during the day!
If there is anything that saves this film from the abyss, it is the acting. Travolta is sometimes fantastic and sometimes awful. In this film he is very good, especially considering the material with which he has to work. Matthew O'Leary is particularly good as the troubled son. He gives a convincing performance, capturing the motivations of his character effectively with all the conflict one would expect from a kid in his situation. Vince Vaughn gives a decent performance, though he is a bit tentative when trying to be duplicitous. He is much more convincing as a villain than a good guy. Steve Buscemi is one of my favorite bad guys, extremely underrated and unappreciated for his consistently sleazy characters. Again, he gives us a terrifically slimy portrayal of Rick's former underworld buddy.
To enjoy this film you have to look beyond the tired plot, the unbelievable departures from reality and the poor cinematography. These are just too many liabilities to overcome. I rated it a 5/10.
ACTING: As you probably already know, this film has some of the best-in-the-biz. Including such stars as John Travolta and Vince Vaughn, alongside newcomer Daniel O'Leary. Travolta decently played the good-guy divorced father, trying to protect his teenage son from an apparent murderer.
The murderer/stepfather was played typically by Vaugh who's portrayed serial killer roles in other movies such as "Clay Pigeons" and the remake of Hitchcock's classic thriller, "Psycho". And on to the young victim of mayhem...
Daniel O'Leary. A relatively good child actor who convincingly plays a stressed, frightened teen boy seems the perfect choice, with his convicingly frightened facial expressions.
All in all good acting. Mainly on Vaughn and Travolta's part.
STORY/WRITING: The movie flails mainly in this category. Thrilling, edge-of-your seat thriller until un-eventful ending. I'll try not to give it away, but it's a tad rushed.
The story isn't all-to origional, nor is anything else in this film. The dialogue is mediocre. Basically the entire script is pretty mediocre...
DIRECTING: Very nice direction. The director's dark, creepy style carries the movie along swiftly. If this director had been given a better script, with the same actors, "Domestic Disturbance" could've achieved brilliance.
Once again, direction is a high-point in this film.
BOTTOM LINE: A good thriller. 7 out of 10 stars.
It's not bad considering that it was probably designed by a committee of recent film school graduates and greenlighted by a tight-lipped gaggle of MBAs. It has a certain splashy tension and there are lots of action scenes but it doesn't own an original thought. And on the other hand it's not bad enough to be revoltingly amusing.
The story is elementary. Travolta's ex wife has custody of their kid (Jason, what else) and she remarries a recently arrived guy (Vaughn) who is a business success and is on his way to becoming a pillar of the community. The problem with Vaughn is that he has a "past" in racketeering under a previous cognomen. Buscemi finds out where he's living, tracks him down, and applies a little blackmail logic, which is foolish because, as every moviegoer knows, when you try to extort money from a really rotten guy this is as likely to lead to the furnace of a brick factory as it is to a luxury condo in Boca Raton. The murder and disposal of the corpse is witnessed by Jason who tells everyone who will listen to him. Nobody listens to him. Except, after giving it due thought, Travolta realizes that Jason lies a lot, true -- but never to HIM. (This kid is a paragon of virtue.) So Travolta goes about uncovering the facts of the matter with the grudging help of the police and the sometimes fierce resistance of Vaughn. Things turn out as you expect. As I say, it's not original.
I lost count of the number of times someone gets whacked over the head (or is thrown against a wall or clipped on the jaw) and falls unconscious to the floor, only to wake up just in time to save his/her life or otherwise interfere with destiny. One example. Travolta is beaned by Vaughn with what seems to be a crowbar. He collapses in a heap. Vaughn sets fire to the building (somebody involved in this movie like fires). The building goes up like a torch around Travolta's body. We have several shots of a huge wooden ladder suspended from the ceiling just over his body. In each shot the ladder is more thoroughly burned. It will fall on Travolta at any moment. But does it? No. Slowly Travolta shakes his head, massages his occiput, looks up and sees the flaming ladder about to drop. He crawls out under it, gets to his feet and leaps into the water outside the boat house. What a close call. What a very very tired close call.
Travolta is okay, though. He gives a decent performance. So does everyone else for that matter. Whoever plays Vaughn stands out a bit from the others. He has the kind of bland face with a built-in open-mouth smile that could pass either for a priest's or a vampire's. But the juicy villain role is usually more attractive than that of the upright hero.
This virtue is small potatoes in a huge olla podrida. The movie rolls along in its self-satisfied way, with the cash registers clinking in the background, until finally the credits roll. It would be good if Travolta picked his material more carefully. Everything he does in this movie, every expression, every tonal quirk, all of it put together, does not add up to what he contributes during the few seconds in "Pulp Fiction" when he comes crouching out of the toilet and looks up to find Bruce Willis pointing a machine pistol at him.
If you want to see this movie watch "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle". This movie is the male vs. male version of that movie. Instead of a baby in trouble, it's been changed to a 12 year boy.
if you wish to see it fine but it's another recycled movie from Hollywood. Wait for it on DVD and video as it should be coming out in a few months. It also did very bad opening weekend? I guess John Travolta's bad movie streak he started with "Battlefield Earth" is still going on. If you like the film's main stars see it for that. But Vince Vaughn's bad guy drill is getting old(Clay Pigeons,Psycho anyone?) and Travolta still plays the good guy(expect for Battlefield Earth).
I just wish this movie was a direct to video release and spared the big screen release!
Once again, there's a boy who because of his constant lies no one will believe when he finally says the truth and needs help from his parents. In this case, the boy (Matt O'Leary) is in trouble after being the sole witness of a crime committed by Rick, his stepfather (Vince Vaughn), arranged for life now that he recently married with Susan (Teri Polo), who divorced the boy's father (John Travolta). After that, it's a battle to prove that Rick is a killer and needs to stay away from his new family.
Let's face it, the kid is a brat! The movie would be interesting if the writers take the father away and let the kid try to make things for himself, because he knows how to cause trouble and he could play fire with fire against his step dad. imagine this kid being a dangerous type who can challenge his opponent family member, knowing how to make the other guy a living hell, blackmailing the guy or doing tricky things, trying to survive the whole situation and we would have a greater picture. Instead, there's this other known thing. It's too damn predictable! You can always tell what's going to happen next, surprises are so rare to find in here.
However, anyone can and will enjoy this flick due to fact the cast united here is very good even playing some dumb roles. Matt O'Leary and Steve Buscemi (as the mysterious Ray Coleman) are the best in the show; Vaughn and Travolta got a little bit ridiculous playing heavy clichéd figures, evil versus good. But it's not a great example of what Harold Becker knows how to do in terms of thriller (the spectacular ones "City Hall", "Malice" and "Sea of Love"). "Domestic Disturbance" is quite good, watchable but it's light years from being a helluva of a movie.
10 years later and we're still waiting for another Becker's film, back in shape, but it looks like we're not gonna see that so early and this might be his last picture. That wouldn't be so good. 6/10
But while there, he witnesses Rick murdering mysterious stranger Ray Coleman.
Problem is, Rick's managed to dispose of most of the evidence, and he's considered a pillar of the community, while Danny has a history of lying.
Frank believes him, though, and does some investigating of his own, as Rick's shady past slowly catches up to him and his new family....
A movie of the week, gets that little bit better thanks to Travoltas performance and Vaughn on full psycho mode. The annoying things about these films are that you know who the bad guy is, but the red herrings and the narrative of these films just make you want to shout at the screen.
As soon as we meet Vaughn, you know the guy is trouble, he offers travolta work and is just too nice, never a good sign. Cracks begin to show when we are introduced to Buscemi, arguably the best thing here. And then Vaughn has a heated game of catch with his new stepson....Bad news.
It's all as predictable as the slew of films that were released in the early nineties, pacific heights, unlawful entry, single white female, and nothing new has been added to the mix here to make it different.
It's an easy watch, with good performances from the cast, and thats it really.
Now, that being said, let me just say that this is exactly what a good thriller should be. Not a lot of blood and guts, no gratuitous sex and violence, but rather trying to link many parts of a rather deep story all together for you, the viewer, in just 88 minutes. If the producers and directors used the modern day formula and made this story 100-120 minutes as so many are nowadays, then I'm sure I would have given it an even higher rating of 9 as it could only be better! So, yes, it seemed a little rushed to convey everything it did, but kudos to them for keeping viewer interest from one scene to the next as they did in the time allotted. It could have been a bit better, but it could have been a LOT worse.
And now on to the acting as I won't even waste time telling you what you already know about the movie and the plot/storyline. I wanna tell you what you don't know and that is that Vince Vaughn is, in my mind, one of the greatest evil playing son's o' bitches this side of Hollyfake! He was natural, self assured, scary and most of all, downright convincing! Forget the funny guy stuff. We have the next great badass/gangster in our midst and we need to embrace him. I don't know who his agent is, but that guy needs to get fired and I need to get hired cuz Vince Vaughn has what it takes to be the next great Pacino, De Niro, Pesci or Liotta anyday of the week. Any bad guy you wanna throw at him? He can be. And you'll see it first hand in this movie.
Forget about, Crashing Weddings, Breaking Up and being Santa Clauses brother. Somebody please let this guy go and do what he does best and wreak havoc across Villania and be the monster he truly needs to be.
Check out the movie. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
I watched this movie with my girlfriend on a Saturday night. For me that means it better be `ready for prime time', or I've wasted my time. Because I had no preconceptions about it and hadn't read any reviews, I was ready to give it a fair chance. I like both Travolta and Vaughn, so I thought I'd be OK. Although it did at least pass my first test of movie engagement - that I care about what happens to one or more of the characters - I found quickly that I was disappointed in having to suspend disbelief to the extent the writers asked me to. My companion was bothered when I became vocal with my objections to the weak plot, early on. She chided me, pointing out that "it's just a movie" (never an acceptable excuse for me) and that "things like this could happen in real life". For her sake, I did my best to hold back, but it wasn't easy. Suspending disbelief is one thing. Ignoring gaping holes in the plot is another.
The complete incompetence of the police department is by the far the most objectionable component of the impossible-to-swallow story line. How quick they are to dismiss serious accusations of wrongdoing, how unbelievable in there unwillingness to even perform a simple background check on a potential murderer, how unprofessional in not employing routine forensic tools to search for evidence (they find no sign of wrongdoing in Vaughn's vehicle? Come on.). It just made me angry. There are plenty of other examples of poor writing, but they've already been pointed out (as has the police piece, but I just couldn't resist).
Furthermore, I never bought the relationship between Vaughn and Travolta's ex-wife. Vaughn's character is so obviously shifty (and dangerous) that it's impossible to believe his new bride incapable of sensing anything wrong with him. It's an insult to her character. She only comes to her senses when the evidence slaps her in the face (which qualifies her to join the local police force, I suspect). As such, her role in the plot quickly becomes inconsequential and superficial.
I must admit reluctantly, though, that I did feel compelled to watch it all the way through. Yes, I did care what ultimately happened to the characters (both good and bad). Yes, the movie was successful in creating suspense, and both Travolta and Vaughn contributed to the sense of desperation that the writers clearly wanted to create. It's just that I felt cheated in the way I was set up. I agree with what many reviewers here have suggested - it does have the feeling of a made-for-TV movie. Too bad.
The plot is obvious, but contrived. The incompetence of the police is totally incredible.
why this movie was made is unclear. It shares a genre with many better examples.
From the title I thought it was about domestic violence. I was wrong! The first half of the movie was slow because they had to build everything up. In the second part, particularly when the young boy got threatened in the hallway, the film got a lot more suspenseful and exciting. The story was simple, and it was told effectively. The plot was easy to understand, which was great because I was not in the mood for any complex films.
Vince Vaughn was impressive in playing a psychopathic father. It was refreshing for him to play out of character. in fact, I think it is the first time that I see him playing films other than comedies.
By choosing to let us in on the fact that Rick is indeed "a bad man", this drama becomes more a matter of time rather than a film that is packed with twists and intrigues. The detail of what way Rick is a "bad man" is not revealed until later on but this detail doesn't really matter and although the "revelation" is delivered as a discovery, the fact that the audience already knew most of it, we're not really with Frank as he gets sucked in. This is not to say it is a bad film, just quite an unmemorable one, as it doesn't have much special going on in it and just delivers a typical "enemy within" thriller (albeit quite low on thrills). This is due to the delivery mostly. Personally I would have preferred it if the film had kept an air of mystery and played with the character of Rick it would have given Vaughn more to work with and would have made more of the mystery. As it is we trudge drearily towards the inevitable conclusion, doing what you'd expect in a professional manner which might be enough for many viewers just looking to fill time.
The cast don't seem too thankful for having been given obvious material. Travolta is OK but he is hardly pushing out the ol' acting boat on this one. It is at least a chance to see Vaughn out of "Swingers" mode and he does well enough. It would have been much better for him to have had more mystery within his script but he is still OK. Tilney, Floyd, Santiago-Hudson and Buscemi all fill round the edges solidly enough but really nothing is there to allow any of them to do much more than produce generic performances within an obvious genre film.
Polished and professional stuff then but nothing out of the ordinary or special. To fill a few hours with something undemanding and by-the-numbers, this is probably just good enough to do you as a genre film but a different delivery and better script could have produced something better and given Vaughn and Travolta more to do.
This enjoyable thriller contains suspense, thriller, tension and straightforward performances. Most of the acting seem excellent with special mention to Vince Vaughn as suave suitor turned to menacing new father and Steven Buscemi in a secondary role as seedy friend.The film is suspenseful though predictable with the final confrontation between good daddy and bad dad. Film displays colorful cinematography by Michael Seresin and appropriate musical score by Mark Mancina. The motion picture is professionally directed by Harold Becker. He's a gritty thrillers expert, charged with dark atmosphere and with famous stars, such as ¨The Onion field(John Woods), Sea of love(Pacino),Malice(Nicole Kidman),City Hall(again Pacino),Mercury rising(Bruce Willis) and this one with John Travolta making a top-notch interpretation. Rating: Passable and well worth watching.
(4 out of 10)
Frank Morrison (John Travolta) and his ex-wife Susan (Teri Polo) have a 12 year old son Danny (Matthew O'Leary) who is taking their breakup and Susan's impending marriage to local hot shot Rick Barnes (Vince Vaughn) very hard. He is taken to running off and lying to his parents and the authorities. Frank meanwhile, tries to encourage Danny to give his new stepfather an even chance.
At Rick and Susan's wedding an uninvited guest Ray Coleman (Steve Buscemi) shows up and we learn that Rick has a past. When Susan announces that she is pregnant with Rick's child, Danny sneaks out of the house and into the back of Rick's car in order to get to his father's home. At the same time, Rick decides to rid himself of Coleman who is threatening to expose his past. Rick murders Coleman and Danny witness the act.
Danny must now convince his parents and the police of Rick's guilt. But because he has cried wolf so many times before, no one will believe him. To make matters worse Rick has threatened to do harm to his father if he talks. Susan unaware of all of this supports Rick. Frank on the other hand, begins to smell a rat.
Director Harold Becker keeps the story moving and at the same time, heightening the suspense. Travolta gives good performance as Frank. He wants his son back and has trouble at first convincing himself that Danny and his ex are in harm's way. Vaughn makes a chilling villain and young O'Leary is excellent as the son who is caught in one too many lies. And no one can play a slimy underworld type any better than Buscemi.
Don't read the reviews. This is a good movie.