CAPE FEAR

Now for something different. Cape Fear is another movie I’ve seen before as a kid/teenager, and I remember it being really cool. Time to give it another watch now as a middle aged man. Cape Fear is more of a thriller than a horror but there’s definitely some scare factor in this and Starring Robert DeNiro, Nick Nolte and a young Juliette Lewis. Added to this you have Martin Scorsese behind the camera, you know the movie will be an excellent watch.

THE PLOT OF CAPE FEAR

Robert DeNero plays Max Cady. An ex-convict that returns to extract vengeance on a defence lawyer he feels didn’t do a proper job of defending him when he had his day in court. Max had done some lengthy time in the clink for raping a 16 year old girl. Cady feels there were some extenuating circumstances which could have reduced the sentence or got him off that his Lawyer failed to explore.

Cady starts lurking around the family. It’s not long before the father, Sam Bowden (Played by Nolte) realises Cady is stalking the family. He explores his options legally, even offering to pay Cady to go away. After spending all that time in the clink Cady’s not particularly interested in being paid off. He’s spent a long time festering in his own anger and fantasising about getting revenge on Bowden for his lack lustre defence. Cady has also spent the time Learning the Law and is now aware of Bowden’s failings.

Cady’s stalking campaign is methodical and controlled. He knows his rights within the law, and doesn’t leave himself open to being arrested or even receiving a restraining order police. Well at least not visibly. Without any evidence of Cady operating outside the law, there’s virtually nothing Bowden can do. Cady violently attacks a young lady who has a crush on Bowden. The young lady is a prosecutor and doesn’t want to testify against Cady for fear of being labelled a slut and it inteferring with her professional life. Cady stalks the house and meets Bowden wife (of course without setting foot on the property). He contacts their teenage daughter and starts to get in her head.

This escalates into the war between Cady and Bowden. I won’t go into the details in too much detail as it will ruin the movie if you guys get to watch it. But let’s say it gets nasty. I guess the only question beyond that is can Bowden protect his family from the deranged Cady? We’ll you’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

SOCIAL COMMENTARY

I feel like there’s also some subtle commentary in this film regarding the justice system. In particular when Cady attacks the young prosecutor, who won’t take the stand after that for fear of being taken apart on the witness stand and also the way the legal system works where a man can mount a campaign of terror on a family but stay well within the ‘law’ in the eyes of the police and lawyers.

Cape Fear is an amazing movie. DeNero’s performance is chilling and genuinely scary. Obviously being a thriller the movie doesn’t have a lot of gore, but there’s a resonable violence content and the movie itself is scarier than a lot of “horror” movies. The character development is top notch. He casts an intimidating shadow. The dialogue is the amazing and the movie is very well thought out. His body is prison hardened and covered in jail tattoos. It’s clear Max Cady will stop at nothing to extract vengeance on Bowden. There’s a couple of cringey scenes in the movie (notably where Cady offers his daughter weed kisses the teenager). This movie really gets under your skin with the psychological detail that went into this film. Overall Cape Fear leave a very creepy feeling in the mind of the viewer after watching, which is the hall mark of a great thriller.

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