Stars: John Lithgow, Lolita Davidovich, Steven Bauer, Frances Sternhagen, Gregg Henry, Tom Bower, Mel Harris, Teri Austin, Gabrielle Carteris | Written and Directed by Brian De Palma
One of the reasons I enjoy Arrow Video releases are the love they give to underrated movies. While this is my first time watching Raising Cain, it is fair to say that after watching it I’m surprised it doesn’t get more praise. Maybe the new Director’s Cut that is included will change that… for this release at least.
When Carter (John Lithgow) reports his wife Jenny (Lolita Davidovich) missing to the police, it is soon revealed that her lover Jack (Steven Bauer) may have killed her. When Carter is recognised by an old retired cop though for his likeness to Dr. Nix a discredited doctor believed to be dead, his story comes under scrutiny as does the possible connection to recent missing persons cases in the nearby area.
What will interest film geeks the most about Arrow Video’s Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD release of Raising Cain is the Director’s Cut has been included. This cut is actually the re-edited version of the film by Peet Belder Gelderblom to make it closer to the originally planned film. This version was then endorsed by De Palma.
Watching the film in its theatrical cut, it is fair to say that the first half of the film is a little confusing at first, but as it progresses it does start to make more sense. You have to understand the complex nature of Lithgow’s character. Once we get past the initial setting up of the story though it reaches full pace and everything starts to come together.
The impressing thing about Raising Cain that shines through though is Brain De Palma’s direction. The long rolling shots in the film are sublime, and perfectly shot to the point that you can’t help but notice the beauty of what it is foreshadowing. The big set piece at the end at the motel for example is beautiful, and does feel like classic De Palma. Though as is often pointed out there is a heavy influence by Hitchcock in there too.
There are plenty of interviews on the Arrow Video release, most importantly with John Lithgow. It is a shame though that there is no commentary track, as it would be interesting to hear some of the behind-the-scenes secrets of the film. Where we do get some detail though is in the re-edited Director’s Cut with visual essays looking at why it was needed, and how it was put together.
The Director’s Cut will for many people be the reason this is bought. The new Blu-ray transfer is impressive especially with this being an unofficial (but endorsed) re-edit. There should be no worries though about quality, as it does look good and there has been no rush to release with a shoddy version of the edit.
If you’ve never seen Raising Cain, this is the perfect chance to see it and adding the Director’s Cut just makes this a must-buy. Underrated, it is about time it got some recognition for how good it is, especially in the re-cut form. A must for Brian De Palma fans, or Hitchcock fans who love to see an homage done right.
Raising Cain is out on Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray now.