Raising Cain (1992) – reviewed by George

Of the Brian De Palma movies I’ve seen, to me this is the most Hitchcockian. Suspense is thick and interest is high – the film is so involving that I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen while I struggled to understand the clues given and piece the story together. John Lithgow is enthralling playing different characters, and Lolita Davidovich, as the mother of a missing child, and Frances Sternhagen, as a psychiatrist, are brilliant as well. No less good, but playing parts closer to previous work, Stephen Bauer and Gregg Henry also shine.
The plot involves multiple personalities, a certifiable father, murder, and kidnapping. And a happy ending is purely problematic.
Dr. Carter Nix, a clinical psychologist (John Lithgow), has a disturbed twin brother, Cain (John Lithgow), who constantly tries to undermine Carter’s confidence. Their father, Dr. Nix (John Lithgow), wants Carter’s three-year-old daughter Amy (Amanda Pombo) to participate in a clinical test, and Carter is willing but is afraid to tell his wife, oncologist Dr. Jenny Nix (Lolita Davidovich) about this – partly because it involves taking Amy to Norway where the elder Dr. Nix’s hospital is located. A series of murders occurs, and Dr. Lynn Waldheim (Frances Sternhagen) is called in to evaluate Carter. She reveals herself as the co-author of Nix pere’s book “Raising Cain: The Creation and Evolution of the Multiple Personality”. She had her name removed from the book because she didn’t want any of “that kind of money”.
Also written by De Palma, and produced by his then-wife Gale Anne Hurd, the movie was shot in northern California in the picturesque communities of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Woodside, Mountain View, and Los Altos. So if you can look away from the action to take in the scenery – it’s pretty.

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