Raising Cain (Brian De Palma, 1992, USA)

Raising Cain marked a return to form for director Brian De Palma, who got his start making thrillers. De Palma had attempted to break out of that genre with 1989's Casualties of War, a passion project that went unappreciated both critically and commercially. This was followed up by De Palma's adaptation of Tom Wolfe's hit novel The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1990, a trainwreck so notorious that there is an entire book written about the making of the film. Filmed near De Palma's home, and produced by his wife, Raising Cain was no doubt a return to comfort for De Palma.

The film is made by a director who does not care anymore. There is a propulsive and chaotic energy to the film, which is totally bonkers. Yet De Palma doesn't even give us time to breathe to question what is going on in the film. It is the first writing credit for De Palma since his 1984 masterpiece Body Double, and the first sole writing credit since 1981's Blow Out. Jon Lithgow (before 3rd Rock from the Sun fame) is the film's lead - he plays a character with at least five different personalities. There are affairs, murder, basically anything you can imagine.

It is possible that the film was intended to be more coherent than it is. Notably, a fan of the film re-edited it according to De Palma's screenplay, and De Palma approved of this re-edit. It has been released as the "director's cut." Raising Cain is a flawed film, but it was a modest success at the box office and sparked something of a career renaissance for De Palma, the pinnacle of which was the director's 1996 reboot of Mission: ImpossibleRaising Cain is not for everyone but is a must for De Palma fans.



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