Domestic Disturbance

Finally, a film worth seeing! After a chain of mediocre action movies, Domestic Disturbance provides a starved audience with a suspenseful plot and a talented cast. Unlike the flops of the summer and early fall, this thriller is not set in a major city and does not rely on new-age technology to make up for a lack of plot. While the story itself is somewhat clichZd and formulaic, Vince Vaughn, John Travolta and young Matthew O'Leary make the movie an exciting watch.

Set in Southport, on the coast of Maryland, Domestic Disturbance is about a divorced couple, Frank and Susan Morrison (Travolta and Teri Polo) and their son Danny's (O'Leary) reactions to his mother's recent marriage to the wealthy Rick Barnes (Vaughn), a new arrival to Southport. Although at first we think Danny is being immature and irrational--expressing his anger at his familial situation through mischief, lies and aggression--we soon realize that he is justified in being suspicious of Rick. When Danny finds out that his mother is pregnant, he runs away from her house in hopes of hitching a ride with his new stepfather on the way into town. It turns out that Rick was never going to town at all, but embarking on another, more chilling errand.

We watch on the edge of our seats as Frank and Danny try to convince Susan of her husband's culpability. Vaughn turns out to be a convincing and terrifying villain and plays back and forth with Travolta to create the same kind of tension seen in Face/Off. Travolta shows his ability to transition into the protective "good guy" and is a believable and touching father. The surprise star of the film is Matthew O'Leary, who steals the show from Vaughn and Travolta with his realistic acting and humor. This was not just a kiddy performance, but real acting. The other peripheral performers were not as impressive. Steve Buscemi was hilarious as usual, but he basically played the same twisted character he always does. Teri Polo was a replica of herself in Meet the Parents, with a few added screams here and there.

Despite a few unrealistic courtroom and police-briefing scenes and a predictable ending, the movie was a relief from recent thriller attempts; and the flaws can easily be overlooked.


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