“Dark and bleak, the “kick-ass” performances, especially Nolte’s “effective” portrayal of an abused soul, is the reason to see this film.”
Based on the novel by Russell Banks, AFFLICTION is a sobering, absorbing psychological study of the precarious relationship between an abusive father and his two sons. Wade Whitehouse (Nick Nolte) is a middle-aged ineffectual sheriff in a small New Hampshire town, where he and his brother, Rolfe (Willem Dafoe), were raised. When events shatter the quiet of his small town, Wade is forced to confront the past and reexamine his life, attempting a reconciliation with his abusive, alcoholic dad, Glen (James Coburn), by moving back home to look after him. This quietly intense, haunting, and beautifully filmed story unfolds against the harsh snow-white backdrop of a town where everyone knows each other. But more than anything, it is the brilliant performances of its cast that mark this film.