Affliction - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Affliction Reviews

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September 26, 2017
viewed on 16/9/04 (Thurs)

I was trying to find another critic who hates this movie. Too bad, Uncler Ebert likes it alot too. For me, it is messy. So many questions left in the cold. The hunting accident. How does that fit into the story? Why did Nick Nolte's girlfriend hates him so much that she opts to leave? Some movies choose to say little to mean alot. I wish this one will really say more to mean more.

Rating: D
½ May 3, 2017
Quite excellent; phenomenal turns from Coburn and Nolte, not to mention excellent direction by Paul Schrader.
December 13, 2016
I kind of love this admittedly flawed film. What do I think is flawed? Largely the narrative, which is far from bad, but at times makes a bit less sense than it should. More than once it really feels like a book compressed into the length of a feature film, and you can sense that bits of the plot are missing. Along similar lines, while Dafoe's narration is occasionally on point, it often feels like it was dropped in because the screenwriter couldn't figure out any other way to introduce some idea from the book that felt crucial. So, why do I love it? Because the central performances in this film are incredible and they all serve what I think is Schrader's biggest interest in making the film ... focusing on the legacy of violence. Coburn towers over this film afraid of nothing and nobody. Nolte embodies a small boy reacting to perceived injustices with no control over his anger. Dafoe is withdrawn, but supports Nolte beyond the bounds of reason due to a bond forged in their traumatic childhood. I could watch these three perform these parts with no story at all.
February 4, 2016
A underrated drama that has great performances with a story feeling sad and sober. Truly Nolte's best and James Coburn being a douche.
½ December 2, 2015
Notle is one of our most under appreciated actors these days due to some of his personal life issues that has overtaken his image as one of our finest actors and here is a perfect example. He is excellent in this (FAR and beyond superior than that year's Oscar winner Roberto Belingi from Life is Beautiful) and showcased a really strong year for him as an actor with this and The Thin Red Line, one of his best performances. Sissy Spacek is good but not used to her full abilities in this and James Colburn was great but his Oscar win was a bit of a far reach. Great screenplay, cinematography, direction, and score as well
½ August 24, 2015
I think in hindsight I liked this better than when I was watching it. But I was intrigued. Verrrrry slow burn. And suddenly when Buscemi appears it's a different movie, with him narrating out of nowhere, and then it switches back again when he leaves (with no narration). So weird! But great acting, and that's the reason to watch.
½ March 7, 2015
Effectively put together film with a title that stands for how family can afflict one another.
January 8, 2015
A deep and interesting film, anchored by brilliant performances from Coburn and Nolte.
½ July 6, 2014
"Affliction" es una oscurísima obra maestra de Paul Schrader acerca del abuso psicológico, físico y sexual infantil con un Nick Nolte y un James Coburn insuperables. Schrader es un maestro para escarbar en el lado oscuro del alma masculina y esta cinta lo demuestra. Dura, dura, dura, pero soberbia.
½ April 8, 2014
Affliction (Paul Schrader, 1997)
[originally posted 14Nov2001]

Paul Schrader and Nick Nolte have both had, at best, inconsistent careers. Putting the two of them together, one would assume that the resulting film had an above-average chance of being godawful. And yet somehow, what they ended up with was Affliction, a movie that garnered Best Actor noms for Nolte from everyone who matters and most who don't, and actually garnered a Best Supporting academy award for James Coburn. The Academy, of course, have never been the world's best judges of taste, but they hit the mark this time.

Wade Whitehouse (Nolte) is a part-time cop and city worker in a small town in upstate New Hampshire. He's burdened with a pain-in-the-ass ex-wife (Mary Beth Hurt), a new girlfriend (Sissy Spacek), a boss who's a bit too slick for his own good (Homes Osborne), and an alcoholic father (Coburn) whose path he's dangerously close to treading himself. When deer season begins with a suspicious hunting accident, both Whitehouse and his boss resent the State Police horning in immediately, and Whitehouse starts investigating.

Ultimately, the movie is a character study of Whitehouse and his relationship to his father, and the mystery of the dead deer hunter takes, or should take, second stage to this. And this is the film's only major failing; Schrader and Russell Banks (adapting his own short story) feel the need, after sublimating the mystery in the film's climax, to tie up the loose ends the script has spent two hours demanding be left at the end. Losing the last two minutes of narration would have done this film a world of good. But those last two minutes aren't enough to undercut the first hundred sixteen, which are excellent through and through. I'm not normally a fan of Nick Nolte in any way, shape, or form, but he's excellent in here, as is Coburn. Sissy Spacek shows us why she never should have fallen into obscurity after an all-too-short stint on the A-list, and Willem Dafoe, who plays Wade's brother Rolf, does his usual excellent job despite having very little screen time. Aside from the wealth of starpower, the cinematography is grand. Well, as long as you like snow, snow, and more snow. Nice to see someone using something other than darkness to give a feeling of claustrophobia.

The climax, in this Oprah-infested age, is predictable, especially to anyone who's even vaguely familiar with Russell Banks. That, however, is as irrelevant as who actually killed the deer hunter. *** 1/2
March 20, 2014
A haunting portrait of the long term effects of abuse from one of the most under-appreciated directors.
½ March 18, 2014
Critics give this movie 87 out of 100. They must know something I don't know. This was one of the most painfully boring, anticlimactic, pointless movies I've ever watched. It ought to be against the law to make this movie and waste our time like this. Once again it proves the critics don't adhere to the same entertainment standards as us common folk. Your average joe will turn this movie off midway through. Yet, it is rated 87%, go figure.
February 26, 2014
The plot of the film isn't super strong, but the movie as a whole is incredibly intense. Nick Nolte gets progressively more and more deranged, and he absolutely kills it alongside James Coburn. The two play off of each other really well, and the madness that ensues is perfectly executed.
½ October 11, 2013
A powerfully tragic examination of American masculinity; gripping and reminiscent of the biblical story of Job but easily accessible without metaphorical context. Dark, dense, truthful and crushing, this pale white noir works as both mystery-thriller and character study.
½ August 4, 2013
Despite the unnecessary presence of Wilem Dafoe, this is a frighteningly well told story about a man's quick devolution into becoming the monster that his father was. Nick Nolte is incredible as the man on this slippery slope and James Coburn is positively horrifying as his demonic, abusive father.
It's not the slickest of productions but it is fitting for the bleak setting and even bleaker story.
½ July 11, 2013
This film is a heart-breaking piece of poetry, examining the multi-generational effects of domestic abuse and the repetitive cycle of violence. James Coburn and Nick Nolte are as brilliant as they are painful to watch in their performances as two men whose vices and personalities merge until they are both one and the same person; an abusive father, and his abused and abusive son.
July 3, 2013
the greatest movie I have ever seen
June 18, 2013
An average story is turned into an unbelievable flick due to the direction of Schrader, Nick Nolte in his finest role as the small town sheriff on the edge and an oscar winning James Coburn as his sadistic father.
June 15, 2013
A disturbing examination of the fruits of abusive parenting--What it is to be a man!!
February 18, 2013
This is one of those movies that will not leave an ounce of happiness in your body. The story isn't really about what the description says it is. It is about a man and the abuse he endured as a child that still continues to this day as a grown man and how it affects everything that he does and everything that he is. It is tragic. And a little underwhelming for the first hour or so.
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