This week, as the new season of Dexter opens, I was reflecting on my favorite Dexter villain, Trinity, brilliantly played by John Lithgow. It was wonderful to watch Lithgow tackle the sinister, multifaceted serial killer named Trinity, and I was reminded of another brilliant Lithgow performance in Raising Cain, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Luckily, I was able to re-watch Raising Cain again this week because it was available on Xfinity Streampix. This new viewing was much richer and more entertaining than when I first watched the film as a nineteen-year-old in the theater twenty years ago.
When I watched the film before, I didn't understand a lot of the campy humor and shock effects. De Palma creates a wonderfully lurid story-world with perverse psychologists, multiple personalities, playground abductions, and adultery. It has several shocking moments that are wonderfully twisted.
Lithgow's performance is over-the-top in a fantastic way. I love how the camera moves in and out of the character's subjectivity. Sometimes the audience sees the various personalities through Carter's eyes, and sometimes the audience is outside of Carter's perspective, which adds another nightmarish layer to the film. Multiple flashbacks and a looping plot structure also enhance the narrative delirium of the film.
On this viewing, I also loved the subtle little nods to Psycho--especially the use of wigs and the car sinking into the swamp.
Now I think I will re-watch the Dexter season with Trinity.
Hooray for creepy John Lithgow performances!