"Affliction" Is Released
Affliction is a 1998 film written and directed by Paul Schrader from the novel by Russell Banks.
It stars Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek, James Coburn, Willem Dafoe, Mary Beth Hurt and Jim True.
It tells the story of Wade Whitehouse (Nolte), a small-town policeman in New Hampshire, whose investigation of an apparent hunting accident is influenced by his relationship with a violent, alcoholic father (Coburn), his increasing obsession with his past, his fraught relationship with his ex-wife (Mary Beth Hurt) and daughter (Brigid Tierney), and the death of his mother. All of these issues precipitate a personal crisis for Wade as the investigation proceeds.
James Coburn won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Nick Nolte was nominated for both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best actor.
Nick Nolte and James Coburn deliver some of the finest work of their respective careers in this powerful but troubling adaptation of Russell Banks's novel. Wade Whitehouse (Nick Nolte) is the sheriff in a small New England town; it's a part-time job with few taxing responsibilities, and Wade fills his many free hours by swilling booze, smoking pot, and thinking back on his nightmarish childhood. Wade's father Glen (James Coburn) was by turns callous, distant, and abusive, and Wade has inherited his addiction to alcohol and inability to deal with others. Consequently, Wade's ex-wife (Mary Beth Hurt) despises him, his daughter is uncomfortable and frightened in his presence, and the only person who can reach him is his loving but long-suffering girlfriend Margie (Sissy Spacek). When a wealthy businessman is killed in a hunting accident, Wade suspects foul play and pursues the case with an obsession that puzzles all around him; meanwhile, Wade's mother dies and his brother Rolfe (Willem Dafoe), the only one in the family to escape Glen's abuse without crippling emotional scars, returns to pay his respects and is caught up once again in the damaged lives of his father and brother. James Coburn) won an Academy award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Affliction, while Nick Nolte was nominated for Best Actor (he lost to Roberto Benigni). ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide