7.0/10
13,483
174 user 66 critic

Affliction (1997)

A deeply troubled small town cop investigates a suspicious hunting death while events occur that cause him to mentally disintegrate.

Director:

Paul Schrader

Writers:

Russell Banks (novel), Paul Schrader (screenplay)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Nolte ... Wade Whitehouse
Brigid Tierney Brigid Tierney ... Jill Whitehouse
Holmes Osborne ... Gordon LaRiviere
Jim True-Frost ... Jack Hewitt (as Jim True)
Tim Post ... Chick Ward
Christopher Heyerdahl ... Frankie Lacoy (as Chris Heyerdahl)
Marian Seldes ... Alma Pittman
Janine Theriault Janine Theriault ... Hettie Rogers
Mary Beth Hurt ... Lillian Horner
Paul Stewart Paul Stewart ... Mr. Horner
Sissy Spacek ... Margie Fogg
Wayne Robson ... Nick Wickham
Sean McCann Sean McCann ... Evan Twombley
Sheena Larkin Sheena Larkin ... Lugene Brooks
Penny Mancuso Penny Mancuso ... Woman Driver
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Storyline

Boston University History professor Rolfe Whitehouse tells of the events leading up to the unexplained but not totally surprising disappearance of his older troubled brother, Wade Whitehouse. Wade, Rolfe and their sister Lena grew up in small town Lawford in upstate New Hampshire, where Wade and their parents, Glen and Sally Whitehouse, still lived. Wade was the town's police officer, in addition to having a multitude of side jobs directed his way by businessman and town selectman Gordon LaRiviere, in order to supplement his meager income. Wade was living on the edge emotionally. Long divorced from his since married second ex-wife, Lillian Horner, who moved to the city following the divorce, Wade had only infrequent visitation rights to his and Lillian's adolescent daughter, Jill Whitehouse, who seemed to love her father only because he was her father, but who seemed to see their visits solely as obligations rather than wants. Because of the animosity in his and Lillian's break-up, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Wade Whitehouse is frightened to death of following in his father's footsteps.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada | Japan

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 February 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Den jagede See more »

Filming Locations:

Huntingdon, Quebec, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$63,979, 3 January 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,302,154, 16 May 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Black and White (some scenes)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During their praise of the film, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel noted that James Coburn was the perfect kind of person that seems like he could intimidate a man like Nick Nolte, who is famous for playing domineering and blustery men. See more »

Goofs

Wade puts his right hand's finger in his mouth because of his toothache, but when he turns his back to Margie he appears with his left hand's finger in his mouth. See more »

Quotes

Glen Whitehouse: [Drunk] Christ Sally! You are such a good person. Capital G! By God you are... you are so much better than I am. I am no goddamn good at all. And you... you are truly a good person. Like a fucking saint!
See more »


Soundtracks

Proud To Be Loud
Written by Marc Ferrari
Performed by Keel (uncredited)
Courtesy of Mastersource
[Song playing in Jack's truck while he's arguing with Wade in the garage.]
See more »

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User Reviews

Deep, complex, depressing
17 April 2004 | by NoArrowSee all my reviews

"Affliction" doesn't have an immediate plot. It's mostly a delve into a man's (Nick Nolte) psyche, a divorced alcoholic man who was abused as a child by his drunken father (James Coburn). He tries to cope, he tries to make something of himself by attempting to solve a hunting accident which he thinks is really a murder. He claims that after this, everyone will remember him as a hero.

Luckily the audience isn't made to believe Nolte's cause, to us he looks just as mad as he does to the characters around them. This is well done, because it could've been presented as some big twist at the end.

Anyway, the "mystery" element to the film isn't that important. It's mostly about how hard - and almost impossible - it is to prevent an emotionally abused man to make the same mistakes his father made. This idea is presented well, but by the end it just feels so thick and depressing that it's hard to take anything from the film, because you don't want to remember it.

Acting-wise the movie is quite good. Nolte delivers what I think is his best performance here, with a quiet desperation wonderfully put out by his eyes, voice, face, and so on. James Coburn does his usual well, but I have to question just why he won an Oscar for this. Don't get me wrong, he was a terrific actor and his performance in this is great, but he's not in many scenes, and the scenes he is in are mostly just a variation of the same thing: Coburn drunkenly and violently mumbles at his sons and eventually starts to yell and thrash. This is all well and good, but his scenes never go beyond that, except for (maybe) at the end when he spews his own sort of twisted philosophy to Nolte.

Other great performances come from Sissy Spacek as Nolte's increasingly uneasy girlfriend. Also Willem Dafoe as Nolte's brother who is so concerned with being quiet and not problematic that he cant prevent the build-up of violence and abuse in his family. I'd say that this performance is more Oscar worthy than Coburn's.

This is a good movie with a great message, but it doesn't put enough on the table, 7/10.


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