Cape Fear was originally made in 1962, but was redone in 1991 by Martin Scorsese. Supposedly, Scorsese agreed to do the project since it would make money for the studios and give him more power to make the films that he wanted to make. Scorsese's treatment of the film is much different than the original, and definitely more dark and sinister.
Robert De Niro plays the lead role of Max Cady in one of his creepiest roles in film. Nick Nolte plays lawyer Sam Bowden, a role that was given to Gregory Peck in the original film. His wife, Leigh, is played by Jessica Lange and his daughter, Danielle, is played by Juliette Lewis. Gregory Peck even makes an interesting cameo in the film as Max Cady's bible thumping lawyer.
At the beginning of the film, Cady is being released from prison after serving fourteen years for rape. Bowden was his attorney for the trial and withheld important evidence since he knew that he was guilty. As a result, Cady is very bitter and seeks to exert revenge on his former attorney.
Bowden's family life is in pretty bad shape at the beginning of the film. He is in the middle of an affair, and his wife seems unsatisfied. His daughter is on the verge of puberty and therefore getting more distant as well.
The movie takes place in Florida, but none of the sets are really remarkable. Many of the shots take place in the city and in the family mansion, but most of the scenes towards the end are in a studio that simulates the Everglades. My favorite set was probably the school auditorium since it has a creepy atmosphere for the confrontation that occurs there.
The acting in this film was very good. Robert De Niro really takes the cake here with his incredibly disturbing portrayal of Max Cady as a sly and conniving criminal who evades arrest while taking revenge. He certainly put a lot of work into the film since he had to get in great physical condition, get large tattoos all over himself, and even hire a dentist to mess up his teeth. I was also impressed by Nick Nolte, who plays his character with realistic anger. Juliette Lewis reportedly worked hard to get this early role in her career, but she plays her part very convincingly.
Overall, I thought this movie was great, despite some bad sequences and questionable camera shots. One such shot is a reversal of a person falling into water that simply looks way out of place. The ending also felt rushed and unsatisfying since I didn't feel a lot of sympathy for Nolte's character.