Directed by: Harold Becker
Written by: Lewis Colick, William S. Comanor, Gary Drucker
Starring: John Travolta, Teri Polo Vince Vaughn and Matt O’Leary
Throwback Film Review by: Rachel Pullen
Domestic Disturbance (2001) Film Review
Remember 2001? Flip phones, baggy jeans, bright yellow being considered a desirable colour to paint your lounge? Good times, but what we sometimes forget is that in 2001 John Travolta was not only making power moves in the church of Scientology but also in the world of domestic-based thrillers.
Oh, I have a soft spot for these flicks, films like Pacific Heights, Crush, Cape Fear. Some things about the Norman Rockwell American family being torn apart by some evil force, such as the girl next door, or your creepy boss, give me the good vibes, so it’s no surprise to find out that 2001’s Domestic Disturbance has got to be one of my favs.
John Travolta plays Frank, a divorced dad who builds boats and is all working class, and his ex-wife is about to marry the complete opposite to him, Vince Vaughn dons his villain cap to play the stepdaddy from hell called Rick, as he invests money in stuff and wears turtlenecks (they keep all the evil from bursting out I think) and basically is one of those dudes who has a car phone and no one really likes, but they have to kiss his ass.
Anyway, the homies go back and forth in the obvious, ‘’You’re porking my wife’’ kind of relationship, but it's not long until Rick starts being a proper lame dude and is mean to the step kid and makes shady deals…oh no, he may lose his car phone we all scream, but Rick does not have car phone attachment needs, he is more worried about people cutting off his thumbs because he is not the smooth businessman he wants his new family to believe.
Frank tries to protect his son and in doing so uncovers what a super evil lame dude Rick is, he also kicked a puppy...probably! Frank is a good guy, he builds boats for god's sake, like Jesus or Moses or something, and his son is like, I saw Rick do a murder, and Frank is like cool I got you, get in the boat.
No one believes the son but he and Frank stay side by side in an epic finale to take down that turtlenecked villain of a stepdad.
Domestic Disturbance has definitely got to be one of the best of this weird genre of late 90s early 2000 home thrillers, it ticks all the boxes: family drama, well-timed suspense, plot twists and car phone loss, the pacing keeps enough momentum to allow for immersion but also draws out the plot to keep us guessing and wanting more.
And even though John Travolta is in the latter part of his career at this point, we get to see stellar performances from a younger Steve Buscemi and Vince Vaughn (you know, before he thought comedy was the way to go and we all had to deal with those movies).
So, immerse yourself in the world of crappy stepdads and god-like people building boats, and strap in for a classic thriller that sadly gets overlooked time and time again.
So, this week we ponder:
If I build a boat, am I biblical?
Do car phones make you evil?
And if you see a murder, only John Travolta will believe you.