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March 1995, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 8 Mar 1995 19:30:08 CST
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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I love to analyze movies, and Cape Fear, a Scorsese masterpeice, is one that
I have spent many hours examining.
I would appreciate any of your comments.
The movie begins with the close up of the eyes of Juliette Lewis, and then
the camera pans through her eyes and the movie begins. In essence, from the
very start, we are seeing the movie, the events of the plot, through the eyes
of an adolescent. And at the end of the film, we again see a close up of her
eyes, completing her story. I can't quite remember, but in her opening
dialogue, she talks about reminising, and suggests sublty that what we are
seeing is from her mind - a recollection of reality or fantasy.
Everything an adolescent struggles with: sex, drugs, siding with good or
evil, admission of wrongful doings and suffering the consequences, are all
examined in the film.
DeNiro, I believe is symbolic of the Christ figure, relentlessly demading
from Nolte that he admit his mistake(that of withholding certain evidence
that may have freed him) and repent in order to get salvation and to be free.
DeNiro quotes the bible numerous times throughout the film. He is covered
with tatoos of a balance with good and evil on opposite ends, and many quotes
from the bible. He wants Nolte and to a lesser extent Jessica Lange, to
re-examine their lives and try to heal their problems. Symbolic of this is
the image of an x-ray picture of Lange and Nolte a couple of times in the
Lange is an unfulfilled wife, having to put on makeup and lipstick after an
awkward scene of love making, in order to feel like a woman.
The only one who DeNiro does not mistreat, is Juliette Lewis, the innocent
adolescent, caught in the worldwind of adult misconducts.
When she puts her mouth around DeNiro's thumb, it appeared to me to represent
communion, as if he was giving her the holy wafer.
There are several scenes in the film which are dream-like, figments of
Juliet's immaginary tale - fireworks outside of the home, with DeNiro sitting
on the fence, a teddy bear dangling on strings to detect an intruder,  DeNiro
hiding under the car, through it long bumpy ride, getting off unscathed -
truly unreal! And then of course the ending, with DeNiro constantly getting
bashed over the head with heavy rocks, etc, and still making it out alive.
Careful review of the film will show that only when Nolte admits his wrong
doing, that DeNiro dies - he drowns, and Nolte's lacerated and bloody hands
miraculously heal! His hands become smooth without any evidence of injury.
Then Nolte, Juliette, and Lange, limp along the muddy water's edge, almost
appearing to me to suggest a rebirth - the family being born again from dust
- because now all sins have been acknowldged and the family can begin to
I would be interested in other people's views - those like me who enjoy
analyzing film.