Affliction

1997

Drama / Mystery / Thriller

0
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 72%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 16350

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
September 08, 2021 at 11:52 PM

Director

Cast

Willem Dafoe as Rolfe Whitehouse
Eugene Lipinski as J. Battle Hand
Sean McCann as Evan Twombley
Holmes Osborne as Gordon LaRiviere
720p.WEB
1.02 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 54 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lewwarden 8 / 10

A disturbing examination of the fruits of abusive parenting.

I have watched this movie several times and reflected on the negative criticisms of others on this message board. And while I agree that some of the performances were flawed and that an evening spent watching it can hardly be called entertainment, still, in terms of its writer's objectives, which are summed up in Rolf's concluding VO (which I quote below), in my opinion Affliction it is a superb accomplishment.

I write thusly because I as a child -- as I must suppose the writer was also -- was beaten often and most violently by a totally out-of-control father who himself was the product of his father's violence. Which is not to say that I did not afford ample provocations for sound thrashings (or possibly a more effective form of chastisement, for, as the proverbial fool, I indeed kept returning to my follies), still there are limits. Nevertheless, I have thought often of the effect these beatings must have had in shaping my personality and destiny -- and being now some 85 years of age, I have had a very long post, post graduate course in introspection.

Whatever, the writer's conclusions did indeed resonate with me, and well written they were indeed:

ROLFE (V.O.)

The historical facts are known by everyone -- all of Lawford, all of New Hampshire, some of Massachusetts.

Facts do not make history. Our stories, Wade's and mine, describe the lives of boys and men for thousands of years, boys who were beaten by their fathers, whose capacity for love and trust was crippled almost at birth and whose best hope, if any, for connection with other human beings lay in an elegiac detachment, as if life were over.

It's how we keep from destroying in turn our own children and terrorizing the women who have the misfortune to love us; how we absent ourselves from the tradition of male violence; how we decline the seduction of revenge.

Reviewed by pf9 9 / 10

a masterpiece, true art

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.

Reviewed by Movie-12 9 / 10

One of the year's best films; brilliantly acted and directed. **** (out of four)

AFFLICTION / (1997) **** (out of four)

By Blake French:

Dysfunctional families have always been the subject of motion pictures. Recently, with movies like "American Beauty" and "The Story of Us," Hollywood has portrayed American households as candidates to be on the next TV tabloid talk show. Paul Schrader's dramatic portrayal of a troubled family in "Affliction" is as intense as any suspense thriller released within the past few years. The thought-provoking power of his script, based on the novel by Russell Banks, and the methods he uses to execute the vivid, interpretative character study creates more than just a sense of emotion and empathy, but places the audience in the character's shoes, allowing us to explore a tense atmosphere on our own.

The movie looks into the life of a struggling person named Wade Whitehouse, played with extreme intensity by the descriptive Nick Nolte. He is the lowly sheriff of a small backwoods in New Hampshire. Nothing much happens in Lawford, however, thus Wade is usually restricted to plowing the snowy streets and serving as the local school's crossing guard. His ex-wife, Lillian (Mary Beth Hurt), has most custody of their daughter, Jill (Brigid Tierney), and neither relative enjoys his company. Wade's alcoholic father, Glen (James Coburn in an Oscar worthy performance), who abused him and his brother Rolfe (Willem Dafoe) as children, continues to abuse him emotionlly.

The subtle town of Lawford is turned upside-down when a rich businessman is mysteriously killed while hunting with Wade's friend, Jack Hewitt (Jim True). Finally given something to investigate, Wade takes his job seriously, even when complications arise when his mother dies, his brother comes home from Boston, and his waitress girlfriend (Sissy Spacek) meets Wade's parents and realizes what she gotten herself into.

As Wade's life starts to completely unravel, the filmmakers neglect to leave out any details; from flashback of his fathers abuse to an uncompromising toothache, Wade is developed vividly and clearly. The movie is best when allowing Nick Nolte and James Coburn to come to terms with each other's hatred for each other. The performances are what make this movie much more distinct than similar but lesser films like "The Other Sister" and "The Story of Us," and even better acted than the masterpiece Award winner "American Beauty."

Instead of milking the dysfunctional family material to the maximum, the film also has tender dialogue and heartfelt scenes that exhibit a loving relationship between Wade and his girlfriend. These scenes make even more tragic the production's unsettling conclusion and increase the overall dramatic impact, which is tremendous.

By the end of "Affliction," like in "The Ice Storm," we feel for the main character's losses. Although this film is more conclusive, it is also unmerciful; we receive no happy ending, no satisfying motifs, this movie takes itself seriously and has no pity, regrets, or agreements. For Wade Whitehouse, the climax of the movie represents death, grief and sorrow. For us, we can only stare at the screen and try to comprehend what we have experienced through his eyes.

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