After the viewing of Cape Fear (1991), it has become clear how versatile of a director Martin Scorsese has become. Cape Fear is Scorsese’s attempt at a box office-crushing thriller, starring Robert De Niro once again! De Niro’s character, Max Cady, is a convicted felon being released from prison after a 14-year sentence for a rape-related case. Upon his release, Max stalks the public defense lawyer, Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) who he blames for his imprisonment, driving the lawyer and his family to take extreme measures to protect themselves which ultimately leads to Scorsese’s regular bloodshed.
This film reminds me an awful lot of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975). The way Cape Fear is structured is very similar to the blueprint of the work of Spielberg including a heavily relied on a composed film score, disorienting camerawork, the obvious violence on a body of water, and the illusion of being watched by a predator even when they are off-screen. In this case, De Niro’s character in Cape Fear or the shark in Jaws spends a good amount of time not being seen by the other characters, while they manage to maintain scaring them and thrilling the audience. Even further, Cape Fear can be alluded to the works of Alfred Hitchcock, an inspiration to Scorsese’s filmmaking. Hitchcock is a master at suspense and creating fear by elongating and dragging out scenes to the point where your heart is beating so fast, the next fear you have is about your heart bursting from your chest! This is exactly what Scorsese illuminates in this film. However, this blueprint Scorsese follows is not the most impressive in terms of fear. The fear is created in the performance given by Robert De Niro! Nominating him for an Academy Award, it is feared De Niro may never revert from the Cape Fear character that scared audiences around the world.
Story/Plot – 16/20 Direction – 17/20 Acting - 18/20
Cinematography – 17/20 Score/Soundtrack – 16/20