Some may find it silly, campy, or slight, but only because they haven't seen as many vintage B-movies as Scorsese. And Scorsese the cinephile understands what those films were about: a sordid mania underneath the respectable American heartland. And so, with hammy acting and blatant retro artifice, he hands in a thriller full of disturbing questions about morality, sex, guilt, and class. And makes it damn fun, too.
Occupying roughly the same place in Scorsese's oeuvre that Dragon Tattoo does in Fincher's, Cape Fear transcends its 'for-hire' outward appearance. Not only does Scorsese craft this big budget studio thriller into his darkest film, but he also employs the most formally audacious camerawork to come out of Hollywood in the 1990s (right next to his own Casino). Unfairly neglected, this is the Scorsese that got away.