Projections - Movie Reviews

Raising Cain

John Lithgow stars as two brothers, mild mannered Carter and hell-raiser Cain in Brian DePalma's new thriller about the psychology of child rearing.  Lithgow's performance is riveting, as is Lolita Davidovich (Blaze) who plays his unfaithful wife.

DePalma's script, combined with Lithgow's versatility hold interest right to the end, not with terror, but with curiosity with past events and what the future holds.  It only fails in the end when DePalma leaves the audience with no understanding as to who Lithgow is and what his intentions are.

Lithgow received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor as a transvestite in The World According to Garp in 1982.  His past work with DePalma was Obesession with Cliff Robertson and Genevieve Bujold in 1976.

Lithgow's characters intermingle in Raising Cain.  Carter Nix is married to Jenny (Davidovitch).  He has taken two years off from work to be with his little girl.  His wife is a doctor, so he can afford the two years.  Jenny begins to recognize that Carter has a more obsessive interest in his daughter than the normal, healthy, relationship which a father might have.  Cain suddenly appears in Carter's life, and a series of deaths result, all related to women who are caring for children.  As the investigation proceeds, it is discovered that the brother's father disappeared eighteen years before while being suspected of using at least one child for psychological experiments on personality.

It turns out that Carter was the victim of his father's sick experiments and the children of the murdered women are destined for the same experiment.

The screenplay blatantly confuses the audience by mixing reality with dreams, and a secondary plot with Davidovich and Steven Bauer who plays her lover.  Dreams within dreams and characters that may or may not exist flow in and out of the story.  The theme may be that evil lies below the surface in all of us, but the twists and turns of the script and the camera are the main focus.

DePalma continues to explore strange, violent and compelling relationships like the startling murder of Deborah Shelton in Body Double and the twisted kidnaping and reappearance of Cliff Robertson's daughter in ObsessionRaising Cain may require a second viewing to pick up on all the angles and a change in the ending would have made it far more satisfying.

It is rated R for violence and sex.

Raising Cain

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