Affliction (1998)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Addiction Drama, Psychological Drama, Family Drama, Crime Drama  |   Release Date - Dec 30, 1998 (USA)  |   Run Time - 114 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Matthew Doberman

Nick Nolte and James Coburn are magnificent in this powerful, brutal tale of alcoholism and emotional neglect in a dysfunctional family. No stranger to portraits of male rage, writer-director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Mosquito Coast) imbues the film with a discomforting wintry bleakness. Though the story -- based on a novel by Russell Banks, the author responsible for the similarly chilly The Sweet Hereafter -- may not exactly inspire, the raw, truthful performances of the two leads keep the film compelling. Though somewhat underutilized, the reliable Willem Dafoe and Sissy Spacek are similarly excellent in their supporting roles. Both Nolte and Coburn were nominated for Academy Awards; Coburn took one home for Best Supporting Actor.