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For the violence between spouses, see Domestic violence.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Harold Becker
Produced by Harold Becker
Donald De Line
Jonathan D. Krane
Written by Lewis Colick
William S. Comanor
Starring John Travolta
Music by Mark Mancina
Cinematography Michael Seresin
Edited by Peter Honess
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
November 2, 2001
Country United States
Budget $75 million
Box office $54,249,294
Domestic Disturbance is a 2001 American psychological thriller film directed by Harold Becker and stars John Travolta and Vince Vaughn. It co-stars Teri Polo, Matt O’Leary and Steve Buscemi.
4.1 Critical reaction
6 External links
Susan Morrison (Teri Polo), recently divorced from her husband Frank (John Travolta) who is a struggling ship builder, is getting married to a younger and wealthier Rick Barnes (Vince Vaughn). Danny (Matt O’Leary), Susan and Frank’s twelve-year-old son, is clearly unhappy that his mother is remarrying. Susan asks Frank to allow Rick to go sailing with him and Danny, to help Danny bond with and accept Rick as a stepfather.
After the wedding and a brief improvement in Danny’s and Rick’s relationship, Danny dislikes Rick once again. During a game of catch between the two, Rick clearly becomes agitated with Danny’s ambivalent playing style and starts criticizing him harshly. The revelation that Susan and Rick are having a baby worsens the situation. After finding out about the baby, Danny stows away in Rick’s Chevy Suburban, planning to drop off it en route and visit his father. But while Danny is inside, he sees Rick murdering mysterious stranger Ray Coleman (Steve Buscemi), who earlier attended the wedding unannounced, claiming to be an ex-business associate of Rick.
Danny reports the murder to his father and to the local police. Rick, however, has managed to dispose of most of the evidence, and is widely considered a pillar of the local community as he invested his money in the area, whereas Danny has a history of lying and misdemeanors. Frank believes his son though, stemming from Rick’s notable unease around Coleman at the ceremony and the fact that Danny never lies to him.
Frank does some investigating of his own and unearths Rick’s criminal past, which now stands to put his son and ex-wife in risk. Frank learns that Rick’s real name is Jack Parnell and that he is a criminal who was acquitted while his partners, which included Coleman, were convicted. Jack tries to kill Frank by setting his boathouse on fire, but Frank manages to escape.
Susan realizes the truth when she sees a large burn on Jack’s arm, having heard about the fire at the boathouse hours earlier. She tries to escape with Danny but Jack knocks her out and takes Danny as a hostage. Frank arrives to confront Jack, as he tries to flee. In the ensuing fight, Jack is killed when a tied-up Danny pushes him to a fuse box, electrocuting him. Susan has no serious physical injury from the conflict, although we learn that she miscarries her child.
John Travolta as Frank Morrison
Vince Vaughn as Rick Barnes / Jack Parnell
Teri Polo as Susan Barnes
Matt O’Leary as Danny Morrison
Steve Buscemi as Ray Coleman
Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Sgt. Edgar Stevens
Chris Ellis as Detective Warren
In April 2001, while shooting the film in Wilmington, North Carolina, actor Steve Buscemi was slashed and badly scarred on his face while intervening in a bar fight between his friend Vince Vaughn, screenwriter Scott Rosenberg and a local man, Timothy Fogerty, who allegedly instigated the brawl.
Paramount Pictures held the world premiere of Domestic Disturbance at the studio on October 30, 2001. The film’s stars were in attendance as well as many other guest celebrities. The film was then officially released on November 2, 2001 in 2,910 theaters throughout the United States. It did not prove to be a financial success, grossing only $45,246,095 domestically. By the end of its run, the film was only able to gross $54 million worldwide from its $75 million budget.
The film was received poorly by critics, and gains a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 100 reviews, with an average rating of 4/10. The consensus reads: “Well-made but extremely predictable, Domestic Disturbance is an average thriller that may work better on TV.” On Metacritic, it holds a score of 29 out of 100, based on reviews from 27 critics, indicating “generally unfavorable reviews”.
Roger Ebert awarded it a meager one-and-a-half stars (out of a possible four), reciting an anecdote about how the Chicago film critics had been shown the wrong last reel. He saw the correct one the following Monday, and scathingly said of it in his review: “The earlier reel was lacking the final music. Music is the last thing wrong with that reel.”
Matt O’Leary was nominated for a Young Artist Award, for Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actor. However, star John Travolta was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actor (also for Swordfish). Vaughn and Travolta have also worked in Be Cool together.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article may contain excessive, poor, or irrelevant examples. Please improve the article by adding more descriptive text and removing less pertinent examples. See Wikipedia’s guide to writing better articles for further suggestions. (October 2013)
Psychological thriller is a thriller story which emphasizes the psychology of its characters and their unstable emotional states. In terms of classification, the category is a subgenre of the broader ranging thriller category, with similarities to Gothic and detective fiction in the sense of sometimes having a “dissolving sense of reality”, moral ambiguity, and complex and tortured relationships between obsessive and pathological characters. Psychological thrillers often incorporate elements of mystery, drama, action, and horror, particularly psychological horror. They are usually books or films.
2 Literary devices and techniques
4.1 Screenwriters and directors
4.2 Video games
6 External links
Peter Hutchings states that varied films have been labeled psychological thrillers, but that it usually refers to “narratives with domesticated settings in which action is suppressed and where thrills are provided instead via investigations of the psychologies of the principal characters.” A distinguishing characteristic of a psychological thriller is a marked emphasis on the mental states of its characters: their perceptions, thoughts, distortions, and general struggle to grasp reality. According to director John Madden, psychological thrillers focus on story, character development, choice, and moral conflict; fear and anxiety drive the psychological tension in unpredictable ways. Madden stated that their lack of spectacle and strong emphasis on character have caused them to decline in popularity in Hollywood. Psychological thrillers are suspenseful by exploiting uncertainty over characters’ motives, honesty, and how they see the world. Films can also cause discomfort in audiences by privileging them with information that they wish to share with the characters; guilty characters may suffer similar distress by virtue of their knowledge. James N. Frey instead defines psychological thrillers as a style, rather than a subgenre; Frey states that good thrillers focus on the psychology of their antagonists and build suspense slowly through ambiguity. Distinguishing psychological thrillers from horror films can be difficult; marketing is used to differentiate the genres, though fans may reclaim films in contravention to the original marketing. Creators who seek to distance themselves from the negative connotations of horror may categorize their work as a psychological thriller. The same situation can occur when critics label a work to be a psychological thriller in order to elevate its perceived literary value.
Literary devices and techniques
Plot twist – Films such as Psycho and The Skeleton Key have advertised the fact that they contain plot twists and asked audiences to refrain from revealing spoilers. Psychological thrillers with poorly received plot twists, such as The Village, have suffered in the box office.
Unreliable narrator – Andrew Taylor identifies the unreliable narrator as a common literary device used in psychological thrillers and traces it back to Edgar Allan Poe’s influence on the genre. Criminal insanity may be explored as a theme.
Macguffin – Alfred Hitchcock pioneered the concept of the MacGuffin, a goal or item that helps to move the plot. The MacGuffin is frequently only vaguely defined, and it can be used to increase suspense.
Many psychological thrillers have emerged over the past years, all in various media (film, literature, radio, etc.). Despite these very different forms of representation, general trends have appeared throughout the narratives. Some of these consistent themes include:
In psychological thrillers, characters often battle their own minds: they attempt to determine what is real, who they are, and what life’s purpose is. Amnesia is a common plot device used to explore these questions. Character may be threatened with death, be forced to deal with the deaths of others, or fake their own deaths. Psychological thrillers can be complex, and reviewers may recommend a second or third viewing to “decipher its secrets.” Common elements may include stock characters, such as a hardboiled detective and serial killer, involved in a cat and mouse game. Sensation novels, examples of early psychological thrillers, were considered to be socially irresponsible due to their themes of sex and violence. These novels, among others, were inspired by the exploits of real-life detective Jack Whicher. Water, especially floods, is frequently used to represent the unconscious mind, such as in What Lies Beneath and In Dreams. Psychological thrillers may not always be concerned with plausibility. Peter Hutchings defines the giallo, an Italian subgenre of psychological thrillers, as violent murder mysteries that focus on style and spectacle over rationality. According to Peter B. Flint of The New York Times, detractors of Alfred Hitchcock accused him of “relying on slick tricks, illogical story lines and wild coincidences”.
Screenwriters and directors
Brad Anderson – Ethan Anderton of firstshowing.net describes Anderson’s psychological thrillers as “unique” and covering the theme of memory loss.
Dario Argento – Italian director known for his cult films in giallo, horror, and psychological thrillers. He is often referred to as “the Italian Hitchcock”.
Darren Aronofsky – Frequently covers themes of madness, pursuit of perfection, and psychology.
Park Chan-wook – Korean director who explored the genre in his “vengeance trilogy” (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) and Stoker.
David Cronenberg – Philip French states that Cronenberg is a “prime exponent” of a subgenre of psychological thrillers, body horror: “stories of terror involving parasites, metamorphoses, diseases, decomposition and physical wounds”.
Brian De Palma – Called a cineaste by Vincent Canby, de Palma is known for his psychological thrillers and horror films influenced by Alfred Hitchcock.
David Fincher – Dark and ominous thrillers that focus on the psychology of men, as in Se7en, The Game, Fight Club and Zodiac.
Alfred Hitchcock – Hitchcock often applied Freudian concepts to his thrillers, as in Rebecca, Spellbound, Vertigo, Psycho, Marnie and Rear Window.
David Lynch – His surreal films have inspired the descriptor “Lynchian”, which Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly defines as “bizarrely banal, or just plain trippy.”
Christopher Nolan – British-American director whose films deal with the mind, memory, and the line between fantasy and reality.
Roman Polanski – Described as a “world class director” by Sheila Johnston of The Independent, she states that his reputation was established by his “superb early psychological thrillers”.
M. Night Shyamalan – Indian-American director known for making psychological thrillers that often have a twist ending in them.
Satoshi Kon – Japanese anime director known for making psychological thrillers, such as Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent, Millennium Actress and Paprika.
Hideaki Anno – Japanese anime director whose best known work, Neon Genesis Evangelion, delves into heavy psychological themes in its latter half.
Heavy Rain – Time called Heavy Rain a combination of Choose Your Own Adventure and psychological thriller in which players hunt down a serial killer.
Alan Wake – Combines psychological thriller with shooter game.
Main article: List of thriller films
Jonathan Kellerman – The Baltimore Sun described Kellerman’s Alex Delaware novels as “taut psychological thriller[s]”.
Henry James – Known for The Turn of the Screw and other horror stories.
Nicci French – The pseudonym of husband-and-wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, authors of eleven best-selling psychological thrillers.
Stephen King – John Levesque of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer called Stephen King a “master of the psychological thriller”.
Minette Walters – The Sun-Sentinel stated that Walters has a gained a cult following for her “dark, well-constructed psychological thrillers.”
Patricia Highsmith – Reuters described her psychological thrillers as “intricately plotted” which existed in a “claustrophobic and irrational world”.