Raising Cain (1992)

Brian De Palma

Is there anything better than the lunacy of a film both written and directed by Brian De Palma? Try John-fucking-Lithgow playing not one but five characters. The other actorsMV5BMzI1NzgxNzczMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjEzNTgwMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,745,1000_AL_ are essentially reduced to featured extras.

The movie is almost a one man show. Lithgow reacting to or against himself. Alternating between the deer in the headlights as seen in his character from 3rd Rock From the Sun or Planet of the Apes and the seething menace as seen in his villain from Cliffhanger.

Like most of De Palma’s early films Raising Cain is bat shit crazy. It’s filmed in soft focus and with the melodrama of a soap opera or daytime TV movie. De Palam shows off with long tracking shots and simultaneously confuses as scenes and story lines clash together. The movie for the first half is confusing and unsettling as the John Lithgow’s various characters kill and kidnap women and children.

Lithgow and the film are at once sinister and laughable, surreal and unnerving. It’s camp and it’s deadly serious and above it all Lithgow shines. Oh boy does he shine.