When Jenny’s husband, a respected psychologist, takes a year off to help raise their daughter, she is totally unprepared for the emergence of his multiple personalities and the fiendish plot to recreate the infamous experiments of his deranged father.
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"I'm that fucked-up experiment of yours that just won't go away." Between the ludicrous plot and zany acting (De Palma and Lithgow ply on as much absurdism as possible) is the subversive/schlocky idea that love, death and childhood innocence are prime targets for laughs. Burum's cinematography and De Palma's montage in the final scene are brilliant. Plus, fun dialog! "Hickory, dickory, doc. Cain has picked his lock."
A derisive combo of dreamy art-house thriller, psycho-killer schlock & post-modern genre deconstruction that frequently walks a line between intentional & unintentional humor while engaging in a veritable cornucopia of De Palma's favourite themes. The result plays like a warped Hitchcockian soap-opera, where audience manipulation becomes an elaborate game. Each subsequent viewing reveals a wealth of hidden pleasures.
It's a film removed from the world of logical time progression and reality, it exists more in a dreamscape, using Cain's multiple personalities and perspectives as a means to induce the viewer into this state. The montage in the climax scene is one of the most beautifully shot and edited scenes of De Palma's oeuvre.
By this point, De Palma wasn't homaging Hitchcock so much as cannibalizing himself. But what he brings to even the flimsiest material is a string of vivid setpieces and a magnificent way of toying with perception, leaving you wondering if what you're watching is "real". A satire of parenthood for baby boomers, too—the end, where two mothers recount the ludicrous plot during a playground conversation, is a nice touch.
De Palma just gave a whole new meaning to the word bad. It's incredible how his movies make me laugh much more than if I was watching any so-called comedy. No expression can describe "Raising Cain" better than: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
My first impression is that Raising Cain stays only within pastiche territory, rarely becoming anything more than an amped-up Hitchcock tribute. But then, it might work its way into my mind like some of De Palma's other work has.
John Lithgow's disturbing and wicked multiple roles are the only appealing element of a tiresome thriller with dozens of themes previously displayed in Hitchcock films (freudianism, voyeurism, split personality, etc) Brian DePalma revered the master of suspense with good results (sisters, obsession, dressed to kill, body double) but here he just missed the point.
'Cain' is unadulterated De Palma, and at times it can be hard to tell if this is a good thing. It's so slippery, so ephemeral, that 90 mins flew by without me connecting the transgressions. I suspect this experience will vary for De Palma fans; I didn't have that issue with the similarly frenetic 'Femme Fatale'. A treat of psychosexual nightmare, I'll need another viewing to unpack this.