Having not seen the Theatrical version of Brian De Palma’s Raising Cain on it’s original 1993 (UK) release, this writer came to it with some awareness and knew that it was less like the stylish action genre films of De Palma’s output in the 1980s, such as Scarface and The Untouchables - and more like the Hitchcockian homages that he had made his career with the likes of Obsession, Carrie and Dressed To Kill.
This two-disc Arrow Blu-Ray Edition also contains a Director’s Cut - in fact a fan-made version by Dutch film-maker, Peet Gelderblom, who had re-edited it based on an early draft of the De Palma script and with approval from Universal’s legal team – and De Palma, who discovered the version and liked it so much that he approved the new cut of the film.
So, with that little explanation out the way, here goes. We would recommend that you watch the re-edited Disc Two ‘Director’s Cut’ ahead of the Disc One ‘Theatrical’ to really appreciate Raising Cain, as it is a more subtle and satisfying version. A lot of the intentions and pay-offs are more obvious and predictable in the Theatrical, whereas the Director’s Cut seamlessly and subtly cuts together a more slow-burn narrative, making the shocks and revelations more impactful overall. However, don’t let this put you off watching the Theatrical first, as you will appreciate the changes in the Director’s Cut – and enjoy the experience more.
John Lithgow is Carter Nix, a respected child psychologist who, to the chagrin of his wife Jenny (Lolita Davidovich), is studying their daughter Amy a little too much for scientific research. The situation becomes even more complex with Jenny having an affair with Jack Dante (Steven Bauer) and Carter suffering from psychological issues that begin to unravel....
All the De Palma traits and trademarks are here – slow-motion suspense, homages to Hitchcock, an ever-reliable score from Pino Donaggio, stylish panning shots. Also, look for appearances from two 1990s TV stars, Thirtysomething’s Mel Harris and Beverly Hills 90210’s Gabrielle Carteris.
Although it is pleasing to see a version of Raising Cain closer to what the director intended, it is slightly off-putting that De Palma has legally allowed another film-maker to provide a clearer and definitive version of his work. It is from a De Palma script and is using the original Theatrical Cut as a reference point, so on balance it is still De Palma’s film but you do wonder whether De Palma should have taken more direct control of the film and resisted studio suggestions and interference on the original release a quarter of a century ago. It also makes the ‘Tobe or not Tobe’ controversy in Poltergeist interesting in context.
Still, Arrow and Mr. Gelderblom are to be applauded for bringing both versions – and a more satisfying second version to the masses again
RAISING CAIN - SPECIAL EDITION / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: BRIAN DE PALMA (DIRECTOR’S CUT EDITED BY PEET GELDERBLOM) / SCREENPLAY: BRIAN DE PALMA / STARRING: JOHN LITHGOW, LOLITA DAVIDOVICH, STEVEN BAUER / RELEASE DATE: 30TH JANUARY
Starburst Rating (Theatrical Cut):
Starburst Rating (Director’s Cut):