Retro Review: Domestic Disturbance

Absorbed by divorce, pulled into a new marriage and sometimes a new career, we put our children through a lot of adjustments. Through these unforeseen circumstances new people come into our lives.

Can we ever trust the people who become involved in our children’s lives?

In the new film “Domestic Disturbance”, Hollywood revisits this impending question. John Travolta stars as Frank Morrison, a recently divorced father, who is witnessing his son, Danny, (Mathew O’Leary) becoming involved in his ex-wife, Susan’s (Teri Polo) new marriage to Rick Barnes (Vince Vaughn).

Danny has had his run-ins with the law and really has never been the ideal preteen son. His credibility comes into question when he claims to have seen Rick kill an unarmed man in his SUV. The only one who seems to believe him is Frank. What exactly did happen?

“Domestic Disturbance” is a very straightforward and almost “domesticated” thriller. Domesticated in that it delivers no real twists or gray areas to keep the suspense alive. This film delivers the story and it couldn’t be any more obvious unless Travolta wore a “white hat” and Vaughn wore a “black-hat”.

Vaughn reverts back to his eerie presence he had in 1998’s “Psycho”. He is blatantly evil in this film and does an excellent job. Travolta is the pure “holier-than-now” father figure who you can tell is obviously bored. Travolta really must like the villain roles better.

There are no surprises, which make the film quite dull in the thriller department. There is tension, suspense music, and character torment but you know where this film is going and in some circumstances it takes a while to get there. What is rather uncanny is the film is less than 92 minutes.

Probably the most disturbing aspect of the film was how brutal Vaughn’s character was with Danny. Hog-tying him, slamming him up against a wall, punching him and the obvious threats are a little over the top and do really push the child-violence threshold.

I have always been an advocate against films that portray children in these kinds of situations and this film is no exception. I cringed every time harm came to Danny and I was saddened to see it. Maybe I am to sensitive but if I had these thoughts, wouldn’t others have it too?

(2 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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