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
'Willem Dafoe is given fourth billing, yet his first on-screen appearance isn't until fifty-five minutes into the film. See more »
When hunting, besides making enough noise to scare off deer for miles around, Jack spots a deer and later calls it a buck. There's no sign of antlers on the deer, and we're unable to see the genitalia. Whether it's a young buck or a doe is anyone's guess. With that much snow, were it a buck, we'd spot antlers. See more »
This is a movie which rewards at many levels. Its characters are fleshed out human beings capable of good and evil and in the grips of intense suffering, not the formulaic cardboard creations which populate so many recent Hollywood productions. The movie's atmosphere and mood are thick and the bleakness of the New Hampshire winter comes alongside its beauty and majesty. Paul Schrader achieves here what has eluded the Coen brothers in Fargo. The photography of Paul Sarossy is of a rare beauty and his compositions are breathtaking. Think of the scene of the two brothers in the barn lit by light sneaking in through the slits in the wood exterior, the beauty of the snow covered New Hampshire chalets, the camera receding from the barn fire until we get to watch it through a slightly off-center picture-window from the main house, and finally think of the snow in its serenity, its menace, its domination. The two stories are so naturally intertwined that one can spend most of the time convinced one is watching a thriller, until in the end this thriller dissolves into the main story which explores the violent undercurrents of human love and bonding. This whole is as thick and rich as cream.
I am in awe of Nick Nolte's spectacular performance. It is honest, complex and totally convincing. Nolte is ably supported by James Coburn and others. This is moviemaking at its best.
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