Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1997. JVC Entertainment Networks, Kingsgate Films, Largo Entertainment. Screenplay by Paul Schrader, based on the novel by Russell Banks. Cinematography by Paul Sarossy. Produced by Linda Reisman. Music by Michael Brook. Production Design by Anne Pritchard. Costume Design by Francois Laplante. Film Editing by Jay Rabinowitz. Academy Awards 1998. Golden Globe Awards 1998. Independent Spirit Awards 1998. New York Film Critics Awards 1998.
Relentlessly depressing drama based on the novel by Russell Banks (The Sweet Hereafter) about a man unable to outrun the vicious cycle of domestic violence he learned from his father. Nick Nolte is powerful in the lead role of this unhappy tale, and James Coburn is positively terrifying as the tyrant father who moves in with his son and makes life a misery for him and his girlfriend (Sissy Spacek). Willem Dafoe gives a beautiful performance as Nolte’s brother, the true survivor of their childhood. Terrific acting and gorgeous photography by Paul Sarossy (who also shot Hereafter) make this worthwhile, but never easy, viewing. The scene where Spacek squares off with Coburn is the film’s finest.